Five Tips for Taking Better Notes as a Vet Tech Student

It is without a doubt that one of the most necessary skills a vet tech student needs to develop is note taking. Notes are not only necessary as useful review material when studying for a test, but if part of a comprehensive learning system can become valuable resources throughout your vet tech career. Learning to effectively take notes is extremely important. You cannot write everything down that you hear during a lecture, but there are the following methods that will help you retain necessary information.

Using the 2-6 Technique
Divide the space on your note taking page (college-ruled) into two columns allowing the red line at the left acting as a border. The wider is a 6-column width; the other is 2-column. Take your usual notes within the 6-column area. Use the 2-column area to write down headings and important points emphasized during the lecture. Include any material indicated as being test subjects. This will provide you with a comprehensive page quickly scanned during study times for all important information. Give this a good try and you will see great improvement retaining information as the semester progresses. Keep in mind that your academic success is completely dependent upon your efforts.

Splitting the Note Taking Duties

There are two significant areas of great impact concerning learning what you need to know becoming a vet tech – class lectures and textbook content. Taking notes from each is important. Use a “split page” method by dividing a notebook page in half drawing a line down the middle. Use one side for taking notes in class and the other for highlighting references from the textbook. Normally, your class notes follow the same chronology as your textbook does. Using this method provides you with a comprehensive study guide integrating class lectures and textbook information. You might add a third column to jot down questions that arise from either listening to class lectures or from your textbook reading.

Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends
Stop taking daily notes. After all, it is more than likely a struggle keeping up each day. Create a study group of several fellow students and each take a rotating turn taking notes. This method will allow the others not taking notes to concentrate deeply on what the professor says and participate in class. Do jot down questions that may pop into your head during class. You and fellow non-note takers can pose questions or answer questions posed by the instructor who will appreciate your classroom participation efforts. Arrange after each class to photocopy that day’s notes so all have a version. Or, duplicate them by hand so you gain a valuable review when making your own copies.

For the Record – er

Every good interviewer knows never to rely upon written notes or memory to capture in total what a person says, especially when listening to a professor during lecture. Although an interviewer needs good note-taking skills, so do students sitting listening in a classroom. There is one method that ensures accuracy and completeness. No one can write as fast as someone speaks. And, written notes usually can never capture nuances such as emphasis or even passion exhibited about particular subject matter, Use a recorder. You can obtain a reasonably priced digital recorder with enough power to capture a lecture clearly enough to be well understood. Always make sure to transcribe your recorded lecture notes and, if available, download these as audio files to your computer for later listening and referencing. Make file back-ups as a safety precaution to ensure you have lecture material available when needed. Use of a portable digital recorder is a great idea for daily note-taking – out of the classroom as well – and can act as your audio “to do” list or “reminder” list.

What Does That Chicken Scratch Say?
If you are like many people, hurried written note-taking can produce ineligible characters when revisited at a later date. Note takers tens to create “unique” phrases, use abbreviations and other acronyms in an attempt to keep up with the spoken pace of the lecturer. It is highly recommended that once class is completed, use a computer where you can transcribe these notes making sure they can be easily read in the future when you need to reference them. Re-typing your notes accomplishes an important aspect concerning learning in that it is a fact that students will retain 80 percent of new material if reviewed within the first 25 hours after receiving it.

Good note-taking skills lead to developing great study skills improving your ability to gain the necessary vet tech skills that will ensure a successful career.

Penn Foster College
A.A.S. in Veterinary Technology
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