Study Notes for Students | Your Key to Effective Studying

Using Your Notes Effectively

Note taking, by definition, refers to those hurriedly written phrases or words or symbols or abbreviations scrawled out in class which we expect to go over later and recall what we meant by them and thus gain understanding. Maybe. Sometimes we go back and look at notes and have no idea what we meant by what we wrote down. Sometimes we can't even read our own writing. The key to good note taking and an absolute essential in becoming more efficient and absorbing more material is to review your notes and get them in a readable and understandable condition as soon as possible after the class period in which they were taken. Many students use their next study period after class to review and transcribe their notes into their computer. By doing this they not only get their notes in clean and orderly condition, they automatically review the material that was presented in class, review it again as they type it into the computer, and review it again as they proofread what they typed. When they have finished they have their notes in good order and can simply print them out when needed.

Other students have found that utilizing a scheme of group note taking can be of value. For instance, let's say you have a Sociology class that meets three times per week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you are careful about choosing partners who take good notes, you could form a clique with two other individuals and each take notes during one of the class periods during the week. This means you would be responsible to the group for taking notes one time each week and be free to listen to the lecture without having to worry about notes on the other days. If your other two partners review their notes and type them into their computers, they could then email them to you when they got them completed. The key is to find two partners who are at least as good a note taker as you are and who are conscientious about getting their finished notes to the other partners.

Good notes are important to learning. Reviewing and transcribing your notes within twenty-four hours of the material being presented gives you an eighty per cent chance of retaining new material. Transcribing your notes daily keeps it from becoming a cumbersome chore and helps you develop better study habits and improves your retention of material, and therefore, your grades. Be a better student. Take good notes and review them regularly.

Last Updated: 08/20/2013


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