To be able to excel in academics, you need to write notes of the lectures during class and also ask intelligent questions. I learnt that when I take notes, I can concentrate better and also understand the topic in an insightful way. Note taking also assists memory.
"He listens well who takes notes." - Dante Alighieri
1. Things to do before the class:
Before you go to the class, go through the lesson in the textbook. Also go through example problems and try solving them.
a) Title section:
Write the lesson's name and the topic's name in this section of your notebook.
b) Question section:
Frame questions on the portion of the lesson that you don't understand and jot it down in the question section of your notebook. Do this before you go to the class. You may also note down confusing points in this section. The reason for going through the lesson before the actual lecture is for you to ask tough questions rather than the questions which are already answered in the book.
2. During the class:
a) Main section:
Write the important notes in the main section and as you do, write the keywords in block letters (all caps). You can include diagrams and problems in this section as well.
b) Efficiency matters more than perfection:
Don't go crazy with using different colour pens, highlighters etc. on your notes. Although it looks good, it won't be efficient as you will waste time and miss important points being discussed by your teacher.
3. After the class:
Go through your notes regularly. What good is all this hard work of taking notes, if you don't refer to it?
a) Summary section:
School/College toppers know that in this section, they can do a lot more than just summarize. You can:
Compare between different topics,
Add your own thoughts,
Write the pros and cons, etc.
If you've written points from other authors, be sure to write the name of the book and the author in this section as well.
b) Do your homework:
Complete your homework and assignments.
You can re-write your notes neatly if you have time to spare.
--- Adapted From The Cornell Note-Taking Method.