Psychology Continuing Education – A Guide To Note Taking
Article by Andrew Stratton
If you’re taking psychology continuing education courses in addition to juggling a career and family life, you may find yourself overwhelmed. These classes, in some cases, can be every bit as demanding on your time as college level courses. Except, of course, you have far less time these days to devote to your learning. This is one of the reasons why note taking becomes so essential. You’re unlikely to want to spend your nights cramming for an exam at the age of thirty. By keeping up with the class material and taking well-organized notes, you can avoid this situation and remain sane while trying to fit everything into your busy schedule.
The General Points
If you’re taking psychology continuing education classes for the first time, you might have been out of formal schooling for a while. You might feel compelled to take notes in such a way that you are attempting to write down everything your instructor says. This is a huge mistake, and can really hinder the process. Learn quickly to determine what’s important and what isn’t. While taking notes is essential for any course, writing constantly will prevent you from actually listening to the lecture. You need that listening time to absorb and contemplate the information. Plus, you will have little idea of what to study and what to discard if you literally have entire lectures in text format.
If “taking notes” to you means writing them down by hand, you may want to consider upgrading your technology. Laptops are permitted in nearly every psychology continuing education classroom in the country, and you’re unlike to be the only one carrying one into class. Typing your notes as the instructor speaks is a better choice for a couple of reasons. One, you can type a lot faster than you can write. Two, your notes will be much more organized and legible. Three, you can easily reorganize, highlight, and edit your notes later for easier study.
Some students make the mistake of having all of their notes flow together like some lost work of Jack Kerouac. This isn’t going to do you much good when it comes time to review. Whether you choose to type them or write them by hand, organization is the key to good study later on. Make a separate section for each topic and for each lecture. The human eye does not respond well to an unbroken wall of text. Do yourself a favor and break it up a little.