These tips are general ideas that may or may not work for you. Give them a try and find out which ones work for you and your particular learning style. You'll be glad you did, especially at exam time.
- Complete assigned readings and projects.
- Bring a 3-ring binder; it is easier to add notes, add handouts, and take pages out to look at them together.
- Bring a ball-point pen; pencils smear and are hard to read.
- Choose a seat carefully when you get to class--one where you will be alert and where you can see and hear the professor well.
- Review notes before class starts.
- Label and date the page.
- Use an outline of what the professor is saying, not word-for-word or paragraph style.
- Use mind-maps. Draw a diagram of the concepts being taught with main ideas in the center with supporting ideas branching from there.
- Leave blank spaces; this is easier on your eyes than words crammed together and it allows room for extra notes when reviewing.
- Use different colors to take notes; colors help you visualize the organization of your notes.
- Use symbols (be consistent so you remember what you have done).
- Examples: & (and) + (and or plus) - (minus) = (equal to) < (less than) > (greater than) # (number) % (percent)
- Abbreviate commonly used words.
- Examples: w/ (with) gov't (government) ex. (example) OT (Old Testament) approx. (approximately) Tues. (Tuesday) @ (at) info. (information)
- Note: When you make up a new abbreviation, write a key for it somewhere in your notes so you remember what it means.
- Mark the notes that the professor stresses.
- Phrases to listen for: “Know this material.” “You may see this again.” “This would make a good essay/matching/multiple choice question.” “This will be on the test!”
- Listen for key words and mark them: repeated words or phrases, concepts written on the chalkboard or in PPT, ideas read directly from the professor's notes, and technical terms.
- When a professor repeats a sentence word for word, write it down.
- If you like to doodle, draw pictures that illustrate the notes you are taking.
- Develop a symbol to indicate confusing or missed material. Ask the professor about the notes you have marked with this symbol.
- Ask questions!
- Review your notes as soon as possible.
- Fill in any blanks you left. Borrow someone else's notes if you missed notes in class or need to clarify something said in class.
- Consider typing your notes. By doing this you make them more readable and you are reviewing information as you type.
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