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Take Notes at School

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High school and college aren’t easy for most people to fly through. Here are some tips sent in by regular community member Snakeyes. He is a college student, and wants to share his tips for study and information retention.

  • Go to class and be prepared, don’t show up with nothing to write with. What I see a lot, is students go to class with no paper or pen/pencil. It may also help to bring more than one writing utensil. You may want to bring a highlighter and some extra pens. If you use a laptop to take notes make sure the battery is fully charged, or find the closet outlet. Be sure to save previous notes and study them every day. You never know when there be a pop quiz or a test. Don’t save your homework till the last minute. Read your assignment and do your work before it’s due.
  • Have a conscious effort to listen and be attentive. Sometimes students will ask off topic questions and you get bored and you fall off topic. So always be prepared and stay attentive. Be prepared to be Adapt to whatever direction a lecture takes. When a lecture takes an unexpected detour, say a student asks a question you aren’t particularly interested in, students have a tendency to “zone out.” Before you know it, the lecture got back on track five minutes ago, and you missed crucial information that should have been noted. It’s very easy to get off topic, If YOU do miss anything that day in class ask a friend or someone else for notes. If you were sick one day are you come back to class to then realize your having a test, don’t blame the instructor for planning the test on that day, always ask someone for notes when you were sick so you can write them down.
  • Use a method that works for you. If you are a big fan of two column notes than use that method. Be sure to also start each lecture on a different page and make sure you date and label all your notes. Don’t use the same notebook for each class. Use a different notebook for each one. You don’t want to be writing notes for your history class in your math binder. Make sure you always keep your notes dated and put them in order, this will help you study for tests and final exams. It’s always important to Develop a system of abbreviations and symbols you can use wherever possible.
  • Pay close attention to content. if something is written down on the overhead or the chalkboard write down, even if you think it’s not important. Write down definitions to words that are listed. Make sure you write down anything that is repeated or spelled out, Usually when my teacher writes something down multiple times I know it’s going to be on a test later on.
  • Last step, Review your notes. Re-read/study at least 24 hours later to make sure it’s still fresh in your mind. Be sure to Edit for words and phrases that are illegible or don’t make sense. Write out abbreviated words that might be unclear, so that you have a better meaning of the word. If you need to make corrections or would like to edit your notes, choose another color to determine what u actually wrote in class and what you just edited. If key words and questions are still unclear to you look go back and re-read the chapter and fill in the definition in the left column. If you are still unclear circle it or underline it and ask the professor or teacher. Fill in anything you may have left from the textbook as well make sure the textbook and your notes match.

Kat was on the Ventrilo server with me during this video, and wanted to add a tip she used in college.

When taking notes, I wrote absolutely everything down. I began college at the age of 29, as a single mom who worked full time. Since I had been out of school so long, I was concerned about information retention and studying. After class, I would then go through all of my notes, and highlight the important areas. Then, I would get fresh paper, and make myself an outline for that day’s class. Once I found how easy this made it for me to remember things, I made it a practice for every course through my entire college career. It certainly helped me to graduate Summa Cum Laude, with dual degrees.

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