At Contractor’s School, we’re here to help. We offer several contractor license courses throughout Salt Lake City and the rest of Utah, including socially-distant classes due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We provide a 25-hour pre-licensure course for sub-contractors, plus a 30-hour pre-licensure course for general contractors. What are some general tips we offer our students on taking notes during any of our courses or any of their other studies, including how to utilize these notes well during your studying leading up to exam day? Here’s a primer to go over.
First and foremost, you want to consider how you’re inputting your notes to begin with. While your parents or the generation before them only had the option of handwriting notes, today’s technology means you have a much wider array of choices at your disposal.
For many, handwriting is still the preferred method. It allows them to be directly involved and is often the best mode for retention, especially among those who have been doing it for years and are used to it. We’d never advise otherwise if this is your comfort level.
However, consider your other options as well. You don’t have to lug a heavy, annoying computer around to take notes virtually in today’s day and age – if you have a tablet or even a quality smartphone, this can often be done within the notes features of these devices. With this technology comes all sorts of convenience add-ons, from the simple ability to delete sections to the ways you can organize and save your work. Again, there’s no problem with the traditional method of note taking; however, if you’re looking to really maximize the productivity and efficiency of your note-taking, going the computerized route often holds several benefits.
For some who are in-between methods we went over above, it pays to try out a few different options. Even if you’ve long been a handwritten note-taker, try a few classes or sessions where you use a tablet – just to see if it works for you.
While you’re doing this, you can also try out several other themes and methods within your overall setup. For instance, many people prefer to split their notes up using different colors, whether with varying pens or by using a laptop or tablet’s color features. This makes it much easier for you to go through and identify particular sections or subjects from past notes if you’re using them for studying.
Another theme that some consider is dividing their page up into multiple pieces, making it simpler to navigate. This is one method that’s far easier using a computer or tablet – it’s simply much more convenient to move notes or sections around here than it would be for any form of handwritten notes.
While we often think of ways to improve our processes during any form of studying, one area that’s sometimes glossed over here is improving note-taking – something that’s absolutely possible even if you’re an adult who has been taking notes in some form for decades. In particular, if you’ve realized that your note-taking isn’t strong and isn’t helping you study, there are several distinct elements of the process you can work on.
One of the simplest considerations here is one we touched on already: Changing the format. For some, their note-taking is less beneficial because their handwriting is extremely poor and they struggle to organize and read their notes – but switching to a tablet or laptop will often solve this issue quickly. For others, issues might be more specific, such as struggling to summarize a lecture or having problems with note archiving; these are areas where practice and repetition make perfect, so identifying and working on them is the name of the game.
One excellent method we often recommend for note-taking: When a given class or session is finished, spend just a couple quick minutes reciting your notes back to yourself aloud. This will help you confirm that the notes make sense, for one, plus will immediately begin your brain’s process of retaining the information you’ve learned. There are a few different reciting or repetition methods out there, and which you choose will depend fully on which you’re comfortable with.
What if you’re someone who originally was taking notes in one format, often handwritten, but have since switched midway through a given class or process to a different format? In this case, we recommend copying your older notes over into a newer format.
This method has two direct benefits: Making the information clearer and easier to access, plus, again, assisting with your retention. Copying notes forces you to read the information again, which will help your brain remember it. But the added benefit of more convenience if you need to access this information again in the future is what really drives this one home.
For more on improving your note-taking habits while studying for a contractor’s license test, or to learn about any of our general contractor licensure and business assistance in Salt Lake City, speak to the staff at Contractor’s School today.