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Why Taking Great Notes Matters

Effective notes are a crucial part of your academic success. Many of the benefits of great notes come from the actual process of writing them. Borrowed notes are no substitute for being there and taking them yourself.

You can learn to take notes in a way that will help you learn more, remember more, and improve your grades.

Finding the Right Note-Taking Style

One of the most important skills for taking great notes is to find the right note-taking style to suit both you and the material being covered. You can even use a mixture of styles as the lecture changes.

Tips for Taking Great Notes

  • Preview the material to be a step ahead!  Before class, look over the textbook material that will be covered in a lecture.  This serves to prime the brain for the information that is coming.
  • Sit up front and sit up straight to position yourself for success.  Sitting near the front can help decrease distractions. Sitting up straight signals to your brain that something important is about to happen.
  • Visualize the material, especially if you’re not an auditory learner. Visualize the material as it is presented.  Include drawings and illustrations in your notes.
  • Review your notes after class. Set aside time to review your notes. It is best to complete a review within a day after taking the notes.  Reviewing them right after class allows for you to fill in any information that you were not able to write down during the lecture.
  • Go over your notes with a friend to help to fill in any gaps that you might have in your notes and to give you a chance to make necessary corrections.
  • Review your notes regularly. Reviewing notes as often as possible and even on a daily basis will mean that active learning begins right away. There will be no need for “re-learning” the material just before the test.  Plus, the repetition will significantly increase retention.

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