Quality notes help ensure success in the classroom


In February 1979, the Aztec Press printed an article prompting students to make their time in class “note-worthy.”

The article gave tips for taking worthwhile notes during class, such as writing in shorthand and attaching contact information in case of a misplaced notebook.

While note taking is still a vital part of a successful education, modern students are presented with additional challenges.

Cary Monberg is a math adjunct faculty member at Pima Community College who initially attended college in 1982.

Monberg says students are now expected to learn at a much faster rate because so much new material has been added to the curriculum over the last 20 years.

“While I might have had six years to learn algebra, students today might have a year and a half,” he said.

Faster-paced courses aren’t the only new obstacle. Students are also faced with balancing busy schedules.

The number of college students working full-time or part-time has gone from 49 percent in 1984 to 78 percent now, according to a recent study by the American Council on Education.

In order to meet their responsibilities, many students have begun enrolling in online classes. While the classes do not have scheduled meeting times, PCC cautions that most courses are not self-paced. Students must log in frequently to keep up.

Regardless of whether a course is offered online or in a classroom, students aim to succeed.

The 1979 Aztec Press article laid out basics: Be on time, take good notes and copy everything the instructor writes on the board.

Monberg adds additional suggestions for college students: pursue a degree that interests them, take advantage of small class sizes at community colleges, get to know their instructors and write books.

When he was a student, Monberg filled a five-subject notebook in one semester with his notes from a chemistry class.

After he copied every table, rewrote the core information and tied concepts together, he was able to use his notes as a reference and sell his textbooks.

Rewriting textbooks may not be for everyone, but Monberg believes in his system. Once he adopted his method, Monberg earned 39 consecutive A’s.

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