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Taking Notes in Class

by Ron Kurtus (revised 18 May 2012)

When your teacher or professor is giving a lecture or is explaining some area of the subject matter, it is worthwhile for you to take notes.

One reason is that often the lecture material includes important information that is not in your textbook but will probably be in a test or exam. Another good reason is that note-taking will force you to pay attention to the material and not allow your mind to wander.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.



Getting important material

You cannot depend solely on your textbook or outside reading. Often teachers will provide added information not mentioned in the book.

May clarify important material

They may also give explanations and answer questions from other students. The teacher may emphasize and clarify important material from your textbooks. Often that material will be in an exam.

Mark down important information

Taking notes during the lecture is an excellent way to mark down important information. It also makes studying for a test much easier, because even a few words can stimulate your recollection of the concept or information.

Paying attention

If you simply listen to the teacher drone on about the subject matter, you can get bored or start to lose concentration. It is easy to start thinking of other things during class.

Forces you to pay attention

A major advantage of taking notes is that it forces you to pay attention to what the teacher is saying. You are actively involved in the class and are picking up clues as to the things you really need to learn for the tests.

Time goes by faster

Another advantage of taking notes is that the class seems to go by much faster.

Tips on taking notes

Before coming to class, skim over the related reading to get an idea of what material will be covered.

Don’t write down everything

When taking notes, don't write down everything the teacher is saying. You can easily fall behind. Instead, write down key phrases and short sentences.

Look for clues and tips

Look for clues in body language and vocal expressions to get an idea of what are really important items in the lesson. Often teachers will give hints on what will be in the upcoming test.

Review your notes

Review your notes shortly after class to add anything you missed and to refine your notes, while they are still fresh in your mind. Waiting too long to look at your notes may result in them not being very clear to you.

Summary

It is worthwhile for you to take notes in class. Often the teacher will give important information that is not in your textbook but will probably be in a test. Note-taking will also force you to pay attention to the material and not allow your mind to wander. Don't write down everything the teacher says. Instead pick the key phrases and concepts.


Note-taking prepares you for the exam


Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials

Websites

Good Grades Resources

Books

Top-rated books on Study Skills

Top-rated books on Taking Tests in School

Top-rated books on Getting Good Grades


Questions and comments

If you have questions, comments, or opinions on this subject, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


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