Tips for taking good notes

Note-taking is a skill that can help you do well on all your schoolwork as a EC Vancouver student. So here are some tips.

–          Write down key facts. If you have a teacher who writes notes on the board, that’s a bonus: You can copy them. If not, write down the most important points from class.

–          Don’t overdo it. Don’t go crazy taking notes. You’ll be frantic if you try to write down everything that’s said in class. If you focus too much on getting your notes right, you might miss important points. As an example, some people actually learn better by listening, writing down a few key points, and then going over the material after class when they have more time.

–          Ask. Don’t be afraid to ask the teacher to repeat something you miss. If the teacher’s going too fast, chances are your classmates will also be relieved to hear the information again.

–          Compare. Keep your notes handy when you’re doing your reading. Compare what you wrote with what the readings say. Going over your notes with a friend and comparing what the two of you wrote can help with what you’re learning.

–          Copy. Depending on how clear your handwriting is, you may want to recopy your notes when you get home. If you’ve taken notes in a hurry, you’re more likely to figure out an unreadable word or sentence on the day of the lesson than you are weeks later when you look back over your notes in preparation for a test.

–          Organize. Keep notes for each subject in one place so you can find everything easily when it comes time for a test. That may mean keeping a notebook or section of a notebook for each subject as you take notes in class.

Some people combine the copying technique with organization by using just one notebook for class notes and then copying these notes into a notebook for each subject when they get back home. The trick to making this technique work is to be sure you actually do it regularly. If you don’t, your notes will be all over the place and things will get totally crazy when it’s time to study for the test.

Good note-taking requires extra time and organization. It may help if you think of the time you spend reviewing notes as an investment. Note-taking gives your mind a chance to know the material it needs to learn. Not only can this help you to do better on a test, it’s also a great confidence booster when you’re studying and find yourself saying, “Hey, I remember that!”

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