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Tips for taking notes

  1. Take notes in a spiral notebook , using a separate notebook for each course. Write your name, address, and phone number in each notebook. Write your lecture notes on the right hand page. Leave a wide margin on the left for writing probable test questions. Leave the left hand page blank. Later you will use the back of each preceding left hand page to integrate reading, lecture, and other notes while you are studying.
  2. Label, number, and date all notes . Develop the habit of labeling and dating your notes at the beginning of each class.
  3. Use blank space . Notes tightly crammed into every corner of the page are hard to read and difficult to use for review. Give your eyes a break by leaving plenty of space.
  4. Write down the major ideas and statements in the lecture . Don't try to write down every word, just key phrases and ideas. Underline points that your instructor emphasizes.
  5. Use a ‘lost' signal . No matter how attentive and alert you are, you might get lost and confused in a lecture. If it is inappropriate to ask a question, record in your notes that you were lost.
  6. Use standard abbreviations . Be consistent with your abbreviations. If you make up your own abbreviations or symbols, write a key explaining them in your notes.
  7. After the lecture, fill in missing ideas and key words and phrases . Underline headings that are of major significance. You may also wish to compare your notes with a friend's to see what you may have missed.
  8. After each lecture, take several minutes to turn your notes into questions , focusing on the main theme and subtopics. Each lecture will usually supply three to seven good exam questions. The questions should be written in the left hand margin.
  9. At least once a week, review the questions you have asked . Pretend you are taking a test, give yourself an oral quiz, or even better, practice by taking a written quiz. Then compare your answers with those given in your notes or textbook
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