Note Taking Tips, Tricks and Tools

The countdown to summer vacation has begun. The only thing between you and months of hanging with friends, relaxing and having fun in the sun is exams. It can be hard to study and prepare for end of the year projects and exams when you’re excited for summer. Here are a few tips, tricks, and tools to help you stay focused and get through the end of the school year.

Hand writing in notebook

 During Class 

1. Write as you listen 

While your teacher is talking, listen attentively and write down key ideas. This will help you stay engaged in the lesson. It will also be much easier to remember what the lesson was about when you read over your notes later.

 2. Summarize 

When your teacher puts a ton of notes up on the board, do not copy it word for word. Often when we do copy word for word we are so concerned about getting the notes down before the teacher changes slides that we don’t process the information or learn anything. It is better to read the notes then write down the main ideas.

 3. Ask questions 

If you are confused or fall behind in class don’t be afraid to ask the teacher a question. It is always better to clarify with the teacher than to leave class confused. Don’t be embarrassed to ask a question, chances are someone else in the class is thinking the same thing.

Student raising hand to ask question

After Class 

1. Review 

When class is over do not put your notes away to never be looked at again. Wait a few hours to clear your mind, and then read them over.

2. Highlight 

While you’re reviewing your notes have a highlighter handy. You can colour code your notes to make them more fun and to emphasize key ideas you wrote down.

3. Rewrite your notes 

Now that you’ve reviewed and highlighted your notes, it’s time to rewrite them. The notes that you wrote during class are probably messy and scattered from trying to keep up. If you don’t have organized notes at the end of the semester, you will be scrambling to put together a good study guide. Rewrite your notes neatly with headings so they are easy to understand and study from. If you do this, at the end of the year you will have perfect study guides.

Student studying at a desk

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