Note Taking Techniques

You must master the art of note taking to do well in school.  Information presented in lectures often makes up the bulk of exams, and notes are the key to recording and reviewing this information.  Taking good notes and reviewing them frequently will improve your grades dramatically.

Employ these techniques to improve your note taking:

Clarity and accuracy are key

Notes will not do you much good if you cannot read them.  Make sure that your penmanship is legible and that there is some sort of organization to your notes.  Write down not only the key points of the lecture, but any supporting details that are important.

Be prepared for class

Do any required reading prior to class.  This will give you a preview of what the lecture will be about and help you to take better notes.  Review you notes from previous classes in the few minutes before class begins so that you will know where the lecture is going to pick up at.

Compare the notes that you have taken with a classmate’s

After class it is often helpful to compare your notes with someone else’s. This ensures that they are thorough and that you have not left out any important points.

Avoid distractions

When you get rid of distractions you can better concentrate on the lecture and take more accurate notes.  It can help to sit at the front of the classroom or away from anyone who distracts you.

Get organized

Having a different notebook for each class you are in can help you start to organize your notes.  Within this notebook make sure to add a date for the lecture, as well as subject headers and book chapters or page numbers when appropriate.

Don’t be afraid to abbreviate

Abbreviations can be common symbols or acronyms, or shortcuts that mean something to only you. Teachers can move quickly during lectures, and shorthand helps you to record all of the information that you need to accurately.  Simplify long words and use symbols whenever possible.  If you are new to this it can be helpful to make a chart of your most used abbreviations.

Penmanship is important

Write clearly when taking notes.  Some people find that it is easier for them to print quickly, while others can write faster and more clearly using cursive.  Find out what works best for you and stick to it.  It is also important to leave enough space in your notes to go back and add information later or make notes when you are studying.

Review, review, review

Notes will do you no good if you do not go back and look at them later.  Review your notes as soon as possible after class.  Go back and add in any information that you might forget later.  Review your notes during daily study times so that you can better remember the information for the long term.

Write down any questions you might have

No one will understand everything, no matter how smart they are.  Write down any questions that you have during class or when you are reviewing later so that you can find out the answers.  You can look up your questions in the textbook or online. If you still don’t understand don’t be afraid to ask a classmate or your professor to better explain it to you.

Improving your note taking skills will lead to good grades and a better memory.  Make the most of your class time by accurately recording the information presented.


Author: smartstudyskills

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