Taking Notes: 7 Ways To Be A Great Note Taker
Many students have never been taught the most helpful ways to take notes in class, and the result is sheets of unorganized paper with facts, figures and half way done examples that are no help to the student at all. Being an expert note taker early on in your academic career will put you a step ahead of your frantically writing, half-understanding, note-taking challenged peers.
- Before you write down first example or equation, get in the habit of putting your name, date and subject as the heading on all of your notes. This will be helpful when you are trying to keep chapters and sections together, and will make referring back to the notes simple.
- Use pencil!
- If the teacher writes it on the board, it needs to go in your notes. Also pay attention for vocal cues from your teacher that signal the content is very important. Listen for repetition or phrases like “So when you see this on the test…”
- Experiment with different note writing formats. Some people find it easy to write in an outline form, while others prefer to fold their paper vertically and write words and examples on one side, and answers and definitions on the other. Some students find it easier to use the entire paper, including margins, to separate the content in boxes, circles, or pictures. If it makes sense to you while you’re writing, and it is easier to go back and read and understand, stick with that method!
- Refer back to your textbook after class. Not only is a good way to review, but you may also be able to clarify any questions you may have when you look back in your notes.
- It is important to write down the examples your teacher gives as precise and accurate as you can, but it is also important that you understand what is going on in those examples. Leave some room next to the teacher-given examples to write down, in your own words, what is going on
- Listen carefully to the questions your classmates ask. Add these questions in your notes. You may not have the same question now, but it may help when the information isn’t as fresh in your mind and you have it in your notes to look back on
Taking good notes is great, but they only work if you use them! Keep them together in an organized folder or binder, and keep things neatly labelled. Start a new page for each new day so that you are not searching through papers to find where one lesson ends and another begins. If something isn’t clear, ask your teacher to look at your notes and make suggestions for things that need to be added or changed.
If you can incorporate these steps into your note taking, you’ll have accurate, organized and helpful notes that will make studying a breeze, and in turn result in great test grades.