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How to take Good Notes from a Textbook

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How to take Good Notes from a Textbook

Use a notebook.

  • Get your own notebook. Don’t use your laptop or a piece of loose-leaf paper to take notes. The best way to keep all your notes in one place is to have one notebook that you use for all of your classes, and don’t buy anything too fancy or complicated. A plain black notebook with a spiral binding works just fine, and it won’t cost you much money at the beginning of the semester.
  • Use colored pens. At the start of each class, pick out an index card from a stack that you bought at the beginning of the semester, write down “American Lit” on it with a blue pen (or whatever color matches), then put it between the pages in your notebook where you plan to take notes for that class. This makes it easy for you to find what you need later on when preparing for an exam because everything is neatly organized and color-coded according to subject matter.

Take notes as you read.

The first step to taking good notes is to take notes. Simple, right? But it might surprise you how many students skip this step. It’s tempting not to write anything down while you read—especially if you’re trying to get through a lot of material at once, in advance of an exam. But if you pass up this opportunity, it doesn’t just mean that you’ll have to write everything down later. More importantly, it means that you’re missing out on the chance to engage with the material as you read and ask questions about what’s not clear or what interests you most.

If it seems like taking notes defeats the purpose of reading ahead for an exam, well—the whole idea behind advance reading is so that by the time your class discusses the topic, you’ll be able to participate actively in those conversations and understand them more deeply than your classmates who came into the lecture without even opening their books before class. This can be a great benefit when it comes time for midterms and finals!

Write down questions you have.

Asking questions is such a powerful way to learn and engage with new material. It forces you to think about the topic in different ways and helps you understand what you’re reading. I can tell you from experience that asking questions has helped me get so much more out of my education!

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Ask yourself questions as you read. Write them down when they come up, so that later on it will be easier for you to go back and find the answers. This might seem like extra work, but trust me: it makes it so much easier to understand what you’re reading, because those questions are all of the things that don’t make sense! Once a question is answered, you know what it means, which will help your understanding of all the other parts of the text that rely on this information.
  • Try answering your own questions first before looking at the text again. Jot down any ideas or guesses that come to mind as soon as possible before moving on (and definitely don’t forget about them!). If there is another source available for finding answers—like Google—give it a shot before going back into your textbook! Sometimes even just typing an idea into Google can help jog your memory about where else in class we talked about this concept or similar ones; then looking for keywords related to those ideas might lead somewhere useful too.*
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Write down your thoughts on the reading.

You must take notes about the reading as you go. This means writing down your thoughts, feelings, and impressions of any given reading. While it might be tempting to just write down what is clearly stated in the text itself—like a list of facts—this is not enough. Writing down only the main points is a surefire way to forget all that information later on. Besides, if you’re taking notes to prepare for an exam or class discussion, there will be no point in just writing out what the author has already said. Instructors always want to know your thoughts on any given chapter; how you feel about it; whether or not you understand it; if you agree with its position or disagree with its conclusion.

There are some simple ways to structure your note-taking so that they’re more helpful and meaningful than a simple rehashing of facts:

  • After every paragraph, ask yourself “what is this paragraph about?” and write down the answer.
  • Ask yourself “what’s new here?”, “what am I learning?”, “what have I learned?” and write those answers down.
  • Always keep track of where you are (you can do this by keeping count of pages) so that when you need to cite something from class or in an essay or paper, it’s easy for you to go back and find it again

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Try the 10-minute rule.

Try the 10-minute rule.

This is a technique that helps you stay focused on your reading. Start with 10 minutes of reading and then take a break. After the break, spend 10 minutes reviewing your notes. Repeat this cycle throughout the reading session.

This will ensure that you don’t forget what you just read by looking up when you get too lost in your text and also make sure that you are getting as much out of your study sessions as possible!

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Taking good notes can really help you learn more from what you read.

Taking good notes can really help you learn more from what you read. Taking notes makes it easier to focus your attention on the text, and helps you identify the main ideas as well as the supporting details. This way, you have a good reference for later, and are more likely to remember what you read.

Most students use one of these 3 methods for taking textbook notes:

  • Read the material first, then take your notes right afterward (with some students preferring to take their notes in class).
  • Take your notes as soon as possible after reading.
  • Take your notes while reading the book or chapter.

Importance of taking notes

It allows you to participate actively in class.

Taking notes allows you to participate actively in class. Hearing is passive, but writing requires attention and concentration. The act of writing helps you remember what is taught in class. For example, if you write down that the moon orbits the earth, your brain will store this information more easily than it could if you just heard it. According to research conducted by the University of Toronto, “students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand” (Mueller & Oppenheimer).

It will be easier to study and prepare for exams.

You may be wondering why taking notes will make your studying so much easier.

  • You don’t have to write down everything while you study, which allows you to focus on understanding the material instead of writing it all down.
  • You can study in more places since all you need is your notes and a quiet place to focus instead of also needing an open notebook, pens or pencils, etc.
  • You can study for longer periods of time without having to stop and rewrite everything that was said in class that day.

Taking good notes might seem like a lot of work, but learning how to take effective notes really is worth the effort!

You can recall what was said through the notes that you took.

The first advantage is that you can recall what was said through the notes that you took. It’s a fact that everyone can remember what was said when they were writing it down. It’s much easier to understand something if you write it down. You will find out how easy it is to remember what was said in class or at a meeting or training session if you take notes of the things said by your instructor, teacher or trainer. You will also find out how much more information and knowledge you gain by taking notes during these sessions.

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Another advantage of taking notes is that you can go over them again and again until the subject matter becomes clear to you. Most people have difficulty understanding certain subjects like math, physics and others but once they have read their notes over and over again they will be able to get the main idea behind the subject matter and this will help them when they are studying for an exam on these subjects

You can refer back to old notes and re-read them over again if needed.

One great thing about notes is that you can refer back to old notes and re-read them over again if needed. You can re-read those old notes over and over again and maybe share your notes with other people. Notes are also a great reference for future work.

If you take notes, you are likely going to get a better grade on your exams and tests than if you don’t take notes at all.

If you take notes, you are likely going to get a better grade on your exams and tests than if you don’t take notes at all. There is always some sort of correlation between note-taking and earning a high grade on an exam or test. Moreover, there are ways that you can be a more effective note-taker. There are several types of methods for taking notes in college courses; however, the two most common ways are to take notes by hand or use your computer to take notes. The way that you choose to do this will not only reflect your learning style but also how much information is retained from class lectures and demonstrations. If using your computer, which is arguably the most convenient way to take notes as it allows for easy organization and accessibility of materials in addition to being able to search for terms, it is important that you make sure that what you are typing does not distract from understanding the lecture or demonstration content. The best way for those who prefer taking their notes digitally is to print out lecture slides before class begins so that they have something tangible upon which to write down their own ideas as well as have a resource of what was discussed during the class period if needed later on or during exam preparation time. Taking notes by hand may be helpful when trying to pay attention instead of just copying down word-for-word what’s written on slides or presented in class because students will try to keep up with the pace at which information is being presented rather than looking up every couple minutes just so they can type everything out quickly and keep up with lecture speed

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