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How to take notes


HOW TO MASTER NOTE-TAKING

Secret #1: Most teachers test more heavily on the topics discussed in class than information from the book. To do well, therefore, a good student will pay close attention to the instructors lectures. However, although we my think we'll remember everything by the end of the class, most of us will only retain a fraction of the material - that is, unless students follow these simple instructions.


  • Read ahead.

Advertisers know that a consumer has to hear about a product at least seven times before they will take action and buy a product. The same thing works with memory. The more you hear something, the more likely you will be able to recall it in an exam. If you have read the class material before your teacher talks about it, not only will you earn the teacher's respect when you ask or answer the right questions, but you'll be paying closer attention and learning the material more effectively.

  • Write in shorthand

Like texting, most students will eventually come up with shortcuts for certain words: b/c = because, Eur = Europe, Mil = million etc. But if you create an entire library of consistent shorthand for all your classes, you'll be able to take notes quicker and, more importantly, be able to read your notes after the class is over. Although it's tempting to provide a full page of possible shorthand initials for you to use - you will more successfully manage note-taking if you come up with your own system.

  • Read and amend your notes immediately after class

Here's where your short-term memory comes in handy. Your notes provide a useful road map of the class lecture but within an hour or so, you will begin to forget details from the class. Rereading and amending your notes while the information is still fresh will make the notes more useful when you pull them out to prepare for your exam.

  • Add color

The more you work with your notes, the more the information will seep into your long-term memory. Highlighting important terms will trigger your memory later on so that you won't have to reread every word.

  • Use your notes when reading your text.

Refer to your class notes when reading your text to make sure you are concentrating on the most important topics. Adding to your class notes with information from the text or internet will help you form the most complete picture of the information and help you ace your exams.


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