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A Simple Guide to Study Notes

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We know that creating hand-written study notes is a surefire way to maximize your study efforts. It turns passively reading over notes into an active endeavor that uses multiple senses and helps to improve recall.

But just how do you create study notes, and what should you look for? The main thing to remember when creating study notes is summarize, summarize, summarize! Study notes are all about the art of condensing.

Here’s how to begin:

1. Grab a pen and paper. To maximize the benefit of studying, study notes should be written out by hand. Studies show that the act of writing is more beneficial than typing study notes on the computer.
2. Write down Key Words. Start by identifying all subject headings/subheadings/bolded words. These are the main ideas of each section and unit, and identify what the section is about.
3. Summarize. Under each heading, summarize the information. Use bullet points. Be brief. The point is to jot down the main ideas, not re-write the chapter.
4. Paraphrase. Read over a sentence and then say it back using your own words. What two or three words stand out as most important? Write those down.
5. Get Messy! These are your study notes, so develop a system that works for you. Colour code. Triple Underline. Sketch. Whatever will help you remember—and understand—is what will make your study notes successful.

As you practice creating study notes, you’ll get better and better at picking out the main messages and the key words to remember. This means that your study notes themselves will condense. The first time you create your own study notes, your might have multiple pages; as time goes one, you’ll be able to summarize your study notes onto on single, easy-to-refer-to page.

Want more information about creating study notes or other study tips? Your local Oxford Learning Centre can answer all your questions, and tell you all about a program that can help make studying and learning easier. Call today!

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