Now that you have completed the chapter and have your notes or outline on your notepad, take the time to read the first few items on your note pad. Then close your eyes and relax and imagine that you are the professor and you are answering the questions of a student who has come to your office seeking further understanding. He or she has asked the "who, what, when, why, where and how" questions about the material you have just read. Imagine yourself explaining the first few paragraphs to them. Can you do it? You can look at your notes again. Now can you do it? If not, perhaps you need to go back and take a look at the text again to see if you need to beef up your notes a bit.
Some students get caught up in their old study methods, trying to memorize everything instead of looking at the material from an analytical standpoint and trying to understand it. Your goal is understanding. This is another reason for the admonition earlier to really try to think while in class and grasp as much understanding as possible. Make sure your notes are taken with the same goal of understanding in mind. If you need to make some changes in your notes to give you the understanding you need, do it now. Then repeat the exercise where you try to explain it.
Once you master that section, go on to the next few paragraphs and see if you can explain the same about them from looking at your notes. If not, keep working at it and/or edit your notes until they bring to mind what they need to bring to mind. This is the best time to start your review; immediately after you have finished your note-taking study time. This will tell you whether you absorbed what you should have from your text and whether that information made it to your notes in a manner that caused you to recall it when asked for it. This will make future review much easier and the material much more available for recall from your brain.
Remember that if you are reading assigned chapters before the class period in which they will be discussed, you may choose to use the note taking method that divides the page in half with a vertical line using the right side for outlining the text and leaving the left side blank for notes to be filled in during class. This puts class notes and text notes about the same subject side-by-side on the same page. Many students have found this to be a huge help when reviewing later for exams.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013