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How to take great notes in class


Better studying begins by being able to take good notes in class to study from in the first place. Here are 11 tips to make your child a more efficient note taker.

Sit front and center

Encourage your child to sit near the front and middle of the classroom or lecture hall. Fewer distractions occur here which means your child will be more likely to stay focused on what the teacher’s saying.

Use a binder

Make sure students keep their notes in a binder rather than a notebook. This allows them to add, rearrange, or rewrite pages of notes, insert handouts and assessments in the proper chronological order and review materials covered in the chapter/unit much easier.

Use headings and dates

Have your son or daughter write a heading and date on every page so he/she can organize the pages in chronologically order in a binder.

Use loose-leaf paper

Take notes on loose-leaf paper. Make sure that students hole punch and add all of the handouts, assignments, quizzes, tests, etc. to their binder. Keep everything they’ve collected from the entire chapter/unit in chronological order.

Think before you write

Before your child writes anything down, encourage him/her to think about what the teacher is saying. Rather than writing everything the teacher says, choose only important phrases, terms, and concepts that your child needs to focus on when he/she studies.

Save examples and stories

Have your child write down the stories and examples that teachers use to illustrate points during lectures. These examples and stories are very important in creating connections in your child’s brain. They help jog your child’s memory while studying and writing tests and exams.

Look for clues

Help your child recognize cues that teachers give to indicate that something is important. For instance, they may repeat something several times, change the volume or tone of their voice, write it on the board or overhead, and/or creates lists for students. If your child misses the initial cue but later realizes that he/she should have writing the material down, just ask the teacher to repeat what he/she just said.

Leave spaces

Students should leave spaces between sections of notes, so they can add comments as they review, study or re-read notes.

Re-write or re-type

Students should be encouraged to re-write or even re-type notes to make them more organized and make studying easier. Re-writing notes also gives them a second chance to think about the material as they write or type it again. The more time that passes between taking the original notes and re-writing them, the less effective this strategy is, so prompt your child to do his/her re-writing soon after he/she takes the original notes. If your child’s handwriting is messy or difficult to read, typing will help the legibility of his/her notes when he/she is studying.

Read and review

Students should review their notes often. The more times they read them, the easier it is to commit their notes to memory and the less time they’ll spend studying them prior to a test or exam.

Get some professional help

If your require more assistance with paying attention in class, taking notes or studying, contact your nearest Oxford Learning location.

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