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How to Take Better Notes

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As we text, email and type more and more in our daily lives, many of us find ourselves not relying on our handwriting or writing skills anymore. As a high school student, this can be particularly detrimental for you. Taking notes in class is very important as it helps you both absorb and make sense of the information as you are learning it and is crucial for studying later. Here are a few tips on how to take good notes.

Start fresh each day. You should have one notebook – or one designated section of a larger notebook – for each subject. Do not try and mix your notes together from different classes. This will only cause confusion. Each day, mark a fresh, clean page with the date and use that to begin taking notes. Your teacher will typically split up topics between days, so doing this will give your notes an automatic form of organization. It will also make it easier to find something specific in your notebook later.

Don’t copy full sentences. Almost anyone would find it difficult to take notes at the same speed as speech. Don’t try this. You’ll be focusing only on keeping up and you won’t really be paying attention to what information is most important. Instead of copying down everything your teacher says, use keywords and phrases to take notes. This will allow you to take down notes faster and to more easily remember the information later when you are studying.

Get creative. Don’t be afraid to use abbreviations, symbols, shorthand or different colors in your notes. Find out what works best for you and use it. After a while you will likely develop your very own personal style of taking notes that will make it easier and quicker for you to both take notes and review the information later. However, make sure the symbols or shorthand you are using makes sense to you. Do not risk making your notes illegible even to you.

Review and revise. When class is over – as soon as you have free time – review your notes and make sure they are legible, correct and contain all the information you intended to take down. If you do this while the class is still fresh in your mind, you are more likely to catch and correct any errors you may have made or add anything you may have forgotten or missed. You can also go over your notes with a friend. Two pairs of eyes on each pair of notes is more likely to ensure all the correct and important information was taken down.

Note taking is a critical skill to learn in high school and will be useful for years to come. It helps you process and understand the information as you are learning it and gives you a better chance at studying more effectively. Developing good note taking skills now will save you time later when you head to college and find yourself in several lectures multiple times a week.

Test Prep Academy is the premier SAT/ACT services company for high school students. e offer instructional programs and curriculum for students preparing for the PSAT,  ACT, and SAT. Learn more about how we help prepare students for the SAT.

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