Taking effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help you recall important information when you review them, actually just writing things down can help you learn that information and remember it better, more quickly.

Here are 7 things you should know about taking good notes that will help you succeed.

1. Always come to class prepared. Note taking comes easier when you already have some understanding or awareness of the material.

2. BE organized. Begin each lecture on a new page. It’s important to date each new lecture.

3.Give yourself room. Consider writing on only one side of the paper, for greater legibility. Use loose-leaf notebooks for notes, which makes it easy to organize them when you review, as well as to rearrange your notes, insert additional materials like handouts and study guides, and insert notes you borrow from study partners or classmates.

4. Think while you write! This means you can’t write down every single word your lecturer says. As you listen and write, think about what information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project. Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading. And during class, listen for verbal cues from your lecturer that indicate important information.

5. Ask questions. As you listen and write, make sure to record your questions, things you asked the professor about. This will help you stay aware of potential gaps in your understanding, and make sure you focus on those parts of the material when reviewing your notes later, and look up information you need to help strengthen what you’ve learned.

6. Develop a system. Outlining? Numbered paragraphs? Charts and graphs? There’s no right way to organize your notes. Experiment with the way that best reflects how you listen, how you think, and process information.

7. Review. After the lecture, go through your notes. Consider leaving space on each page or after each important section of class, for a short summary, in your own words, of the material you covered. This can help you process the information by making you think it through and ensuring you understand it.

 

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