How to Take Notes to Ace Any Class
Effective note-taking skills are necessary to pass any class or test. No matter how you take them, all of your notes should adhere to the same general guidelines. If your notes aren’t taken well, it won’t matter what studying strategy you use. Learning how to take notes will pay off!
Note-taking consists of three main parts: observing, recording, and reviewing. First, you observe what is happening, whether in a lecture, a powerpoint, or a chapter of a book. Then, you record what you see (essentially the note-taking part). Finally, you review your notes by looking over them over a period of time so you retain the information.
Remember to use good handwriting. You want to be 100% sure of what you wrote so you can review material easily. If you have to decode your own handwriting, you’ll waste time and may even end up getting some information wrong.
If you’re in a classroom or lecture hall, sit up front. Students who sit in the front of the room can see the board better and are less likely to fall asleep and miss information.
Pay attention to what your instructor is saying! It’s likely that repeated information will show up on tests. You should also pay attention to bolded words in text books – they’re usually keys to the structure of the material.
Whatever note-taking strategy you decide is best for you, stay consistent. Once you learn how to take notes, it should turn into a habit. It will be easier for you to read and review your notes if they are written in the same format rather than a bunch of different ones.
Review your notes within 24 hours of taking them. Doing this can move information from your short-term memory to your long-term.
If your instructor talks fast, ask if you can record the lecture. You can buy a cheap voice recorder or even use your cell phone to record audio. You can play back the lecture as many times as you need to in order to write solid notes. If you can’t record lectures, practice writing shorthand so you can take notes quicker.
Edit your notes if you need to. If you review what you’ve written and something is messy or doesn’t quite make sense, figure out how you can fix it and do so. That will make reviewing much smoother in the future.
If your path to college requires improved study skills or note-taking skills, give us a call to see how Michael Jordan College Prep can help!
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