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Note-Taking Tips

Tip 1: Outline, use your own words, have a code, rewrite

Unless you have a knowledge of shorthand, writing every word the instructor says will be difficult. Listen for the main points and what the instructor emphasizes. Try not to concentrate on details. Don't worry about spelling. Just get what information is important on paper. Listen for transition words (first, second, next, finally). This indicates that the instructor is moving from point to point. Develop an abbreviation code you can use efficiently. Be consistent with your abbreviations. Examples may include: w/ for with; ex for example; tx for treatment,= for equals. Underline key words and points. Write down what is written on overheads or on the board. Read material before the next class if possible. This will make the lecture more comprehensible and your notes will be better. Most instructors assume that you have read the material before class. Add details or examples from the text after class. The sooner you do this, the more details and examples you will remember. This will assist you when studying for tests. Ask to copy another student's notes if you miss a class.

Tip 2: Have the necessary materials

Always come with two writing instruments and plenty of paper. Remember that we forget half of what we hear immediately, and another 50% two months later.

Every week, spend 10 minutes reviewing your notes and you will retain most of what you have learned.
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