What are some good tips for effective note taking?

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Every student benefits from finding an effective way to take notes. While some find it easiest to quickly jot down main ideas, others benefit from recording lectures and taking notes later in a quiet setting. Here are eNotes' tips for note taking.

Stanford University offers a few note-taking tips to its students. 

  1. Listen to the professor and think about key points. Don't quote your professor verbatim; instead put the thoughts into your own words.
  2. Never write entire sentences when taking notes. Note key ideas in short phrases.
  3. After class, ask to share notes with classmates. See what they felt were key points, and note anything you now feel is important.
  4. Read notes back as soon after class as possible. Make sure you can read everything you've written. Research points that were not clear.

Cornell University also has a note-taking method it shares with students. This method follows five Rs: Record, Reduce, Recite, Reflect, and Review. To use its method, divide your paper into two columns.

  • Record: Take as many notes as possible in the first column during class.
  • Reduce: Look over the notes and cut out extraneous information.
  • Recite: Read the notes back and put the thoughts into your own words to secure each point in your memory.
  • Reflect: Think about the notes and the lesson you learned and research anything that isn't clear.
  • Review: Look back over your notes once a week to keep the information fresh in your mind.

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