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Tips to effective note-taking

Monday, February 14, 2011

Did you know that without review, 47 percent of what you just learned is forgotten in the first 20 minutes and after a day, you forget 15 percent more of it? This is why it is crucial to have good lecture notes for you to review and remember lessons.

Writing things down enhance retention of lessons and learning. So, what are you waiting for? Get your paper and pen ready. Write down the following tips on effective note-taking.
  • Use a three-ring binder notebook In this way, pages can be easily removed for reviewing, and handouts can be inserted in your notes for cross-referencing. You can also insert your own out-of-class notes in the correct section of your notebook.
  • Get the clues Whenever teachers make a comment like, “This is an important topic,” or “Make sure you understand this,” it is very likely it will be on the exam. You know that those parts are something you need to know so take note of them.
  • Go to class with a positive attitude This allows you get most of the information presented. Make a conscious effort to pay attention. Enjoy taking down notes and understanding new lessons!
  • Develop a note-taking method that works for you Fine-tune the structure and organization of your notes to improve your note-taking speed and comprehension. Develop a system of abbreviation and symbols for efficiency.
    Start each lecture on a new page, and put a date and number on each page because the sequence of material is important.
    Leave blank spaces as this allows you to add comments or questions as the lesson progresses.
    Make your notes as brief as possible. Avoid writing down sentences when it could be summarized in a phrase.
    If you wish to see some examples of note-taking formats, click here.
  • Pay close attention to content Take note of details, examples, explanations, definitions, enumerations, information written on the chalkboard, including drawings or charts, and points that are emphasized by your teacher.
  • Review and edit your notes. Review your notes within 24 hours. Edit with a different colored pen so you know what you wrote in class and what you added in later. Compare your notes with the textbook and fill in important details you missed writing down.


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