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Taking Notes in Class

What you learn from most courses taken is a combination of what you learned in class and what you learned from reading the textbook and/or other assigned readings. It is important that you be alert and take notes in class. There is some material that will only be introduced during class and then only once. You will be expected to know it. There are several techniques that may help you in class period note taking. First of all, be reminded that you were to review the assigned topic and read whatever was available in the text before class time. You should be somewhat familiar with what will be presented before you get to class. You know there are areas that are not clear to you and you should be alert as these areas are introduced. Ask questions when needed.

Many students have found that using a small portable tape recorder can help them go back and refresh and clarify their notes after listening to a professor who tends to move rapidly through material. Most professors don't mind this practice and will even allow you to set your recorder near the lecture podium and pick it up after class.

One practice used by many students is to take notes on a standard notebook paper by making a vertical line down the page with one third of the space on the left side and two thirds of the space on the right side. They do their note taking on the large column side and use the narrow column side for highlighting or noting main topics or notes to themselves. They may also make notes to themselves in the small column indicating that what appears on the large column side may be on the exam. This system allows them to scan their notes easily for important points and aids in later review and transcription.

Other students have found that dividing the page in half and outlining the text on one side and putting class notes on the other works well for them. This is a good way to prepare for class. Outlining the text on one side of the page before class gives you the review you were looking for in preparing for class. Then while in class you can make notes on those things covered by the professor during class period and add clarification as well as note which items may likely appear on the next exam.


Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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