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Common Note-Taking Mistakes Students Make (And How To Correct Them)


Students taking notes in class.

One of the best ways to make studying for tests easier is to have clear and concise notes to refer to.

Unfortunately, many students don’t know the most effective way to take notes in class. As a result, students are often left with study notes that are missing information, hard to understand, or unorganized.

The good news: there are many ways to build better note-taking habits. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the most common note-taking mistakes students make and how to fix them.

Top Mistakes Made When Note Taking & How To Fix Them

The Issue: Not Structuring Notes Properly

Many students record every word their teacher says in class and wind up with pages upon pages of notes. Though it’s great they are paying close attention in class, this makes deciphering which information is most important difficult when studying these notes.

The Fix: Use a Note-Taking Template

Sticking to a template is the best way to make sure notes are concise, structured, and comprehensive. Depending on what type of learning style your child prefers, one note-making strategy may work better than another.

Read through our note-taking guide and discover 5 different types of note-taking strategies your child can try.


The Issue: Not Using Highlighting Properly

Highlighting text can make reading notes easier for students. But a common mistake students make is highlighting too much of the information. Again, this makes the important information difficult for students to pull from their notes when studying.

The Fix: Only Highlight The Most Important Information

Highlighting sentences in a textbook should be used to bring attention to the most important points of a topic. A good rule to follow is only around 10-15 percent of each page should be highlighted.

Students also need to be sure that they are using what’s highlighted as a prompt to test their knowledge of the material—and not simply memorizing it.

To test their knowledge, students can copy a sentence highlighted in their textbook into their notebook. This will serve as a prompt. Then, have your child write down everything he or she remembers about that topic. Once finished, it’s time to see if any of the points are incorrect, missing information, or can be built on. This will help make sure your child is actually comprehending (not just memorizing) the material.


The Issue: Not Organizing Notes Correctly

Even if a student’s notes are well structured and concise, if they are not organized correctly it can be difficult to understand how they relate to other material. It’s important that students’ study notes are kept in order to make sure references to earlier material make sense.

The Fix: Include The Date On Class Notes

There’s a reason teachers have always encouraged students to record their name and the date on papers. It keeps the notes organized in chronological order and makes organizing that much easier.

There are a few ways to effectively organize notes:

  • Add the course title, chapter, and date to each page
  • Use a folder for each specific course
  • Divide that folder into subfolders for each topic or chapter

  • The Issue: Only Reviewing Notes Before The Test

    Students who only review their notes when a big test is looming are only making things harder on themselves. Since they haven’t reviewed the material in months, they are using valuable studying time to relearn the course.

    The Fix: Take Time Each Night To Review

    Reviewing the notes taken in class for up to 30 minutes every night can make a big difference in your child’s recall. Visiting the material on an ongoing basis allows him or her to identify any areas that need extra work, and get a better grasp for the course as a whole. Come exam time, he or she will only need to review the material rather than starting from square one.

     

    Need More Note Taking Help?

    Our Complete Study Toolkit includes note taking templates and study tips that
    are useful for any student trying to ace his or her next test.

    Download The Kit

     

    Build Better Study Habits

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