Taking good notes is an essential skill for academic success.
Unfortunately, it’s a skill that many students fail to develop in high school.
Learning to take good notes will help you develop good study habits.
You can develop good note taking skills by following these important tips:
COME TO CLASS PREPARED! <ul><li>Being prepared is more than just having enough paper, pens, pencils and highlighters. </li></ul>
You need to be free from distractions. <ul><li>Put away or turn off your cell phone. </li></ul>
You can do your texting or tweeting after class.
You need to focus on what the instructor is saying.
This means you have to practice active listening.
Active listening doesn’t mean you have to write down every word that’s said.
You listen for the main points of the lecture.
Listen for transitional words like <ul><li>Next </li></ul><ul><li>Finally </li></ul><ul><li>Or In conclusion </li></ul>
Pay attention to and make notes about what is written on the board.
An active listener also looks for nonverbal signs.
<ul><li>The way the speaker gestures, how often eye contact is made, and his/her body language are all nonverbal signs that show you the speaker thinks something is particularly important or worth remembering. </li></ul>
Being prepared also means you’ve done all the assigned reading before coming to class.
If you haven’t done the reading, it’s harder for you to learn and remember the material.
The instructors expect that you’ve done the reading, so you can use it to build upon the information in the lecture.
Ask Questions If your instructor is talking too fast or saying something that isn’t clear to you, there’s nothing rude about asking him/her to slow down a bit or clarify what was said.
Even the best lecturers can start rambling or talking too fast. Don’t ever be embarrassed to ask a question. It’s not a dumb question if you don’t know the answer.
Notetaking Techniques and Tips <ul><li>To keep your notes organized and orderly, write down the date of the class and the topic of the lecture. That will help to trigger your memory when you review the notes. </li></ul>
Note taking is easier if you learn to write quickly (or type quickly if you’re using a laptop). Don’t worry about writing every word and don’t worry about your penmanship.
Use as many abbreviations as you can, like “meds” for medicines or “anat” for anatomy.
If your instructor defines a term, that usually means they want you to remember it and learn what it means. That’s why its important for you to write down definitions.
If the instructor is doing a Power Point Presentation, you don’t need to write down everything that’s on the slide. You will lose your focus on the lecture and fall out of the active listening mode.
Finally, remember, it’s better to write too much instead of too little. Excess notes aren’t likely to hurt you when you’re studying for a test, but scanty notes probably will.
REVIEWING YOUR NOTES <ul><li>People forget things. That’s why it’s so important to review our notes as soon as possible. A quick review will refresh your memory and reinforce what you’ve learned. </li></ul>
<ul><li>This will also give you a chance to revise your notes by replacing abbreviations with complete words. </li></ul><ul><li>Abb. (abbreviation) </li></ul>
Sometimes, hastily written words no longer make sense to you. Make a note of what’s no longer clear to you. Then, you can ask a fellow student or your instructor for clarification.
<ul><li>Try to find a classmate that you can compare and share notes with – they can point out something that you might have missed. They can also serve as a study partner before exams. </li></ul>
RANDOM TIPS <ul><li>Never be afraid to ask for help. If you’re having problems, meet with your instructor or another student to go over your notes and give you some advice and guidance. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Keep your notes organized in one place. It doesn’t matter if it’s a notebook or a flash drive; just have them all in one place. Don’t have them scattered on random pieces of paper. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Work on your active listening skills. The more you practice them, the easier it gets. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Review your notes from your previous class before the next class meeting. It will help you to remember what was previously covered and prepare you to learn new information. </li></ul>
<ul><li>If you miss a class, see your instructor to learn what was covered. Ask a classmate if they can share their notes with you. Just don’t make it a habit! </li></ul>