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Secrets of effective note-taking

It is obvious, that there is no better way to create a short guide through all the material you have learned during the semester than notetaking. It is individual, as different people prefer writing down the new information in their own way. Some can use tables, actual text, schemes and even drawings. You are free to choose any kind of notetaking, but here are some rules, that will help you to make your notes easy to navigate and use.

  1. Number the pages

    When you have all the pages numbered in your notebook, you can create a short guide on the last page with the topics and the numbers of pages where you can find them. Underline the topics in the notes or write them down with a different color, so you can find it easily.

  2. One subject per notebook

    Do not mix the notes up. If you think, that one notebook is too much for one subject, make it a double one for two subjects, but do not turn your notebook into a complete mess, where you do not know if numbers belong to your economy or history notes.

  3. Write in complete words

    A lot of students use shortenings and abbreviations, trying to make notetaking more effective and having every word a teacher said written down. As a result, their notes risk to become a language of the ancient tribes, because not a single word can be read and understood. Choose the key points and write them down in complete words instead of hunting after the full text your teacher said. Abbreviations can be effective, but you will probably need to write down all the meanings in case you forget something.

  4. Be specific while noting the definitions

    Most teachers want their students to learn the definitions exactly in the way they have given them. That is why you want to write down every word of the definition and mark the place where it is in case you need to know them by heart.

  5. Leave some space for comments

    It often happens, that the teacher gives an explanation or a valuable comment on something from the previous lecture, but you have no space to write it down. That is why you need to leave half a page or even a whole page free from notes. In this way you will be sure to revise it before the exam and will be sure you have understood the material better.

  6. Keep it neat

    Not everyone is lucky to have a good handwriting, and if you are one of those, who can barely read what they have just written, you should work on it. Neat handwriting will save you time in looking for the exact phrase you need, as well as will never turn you into a codebreaker while looking through your own notes.

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