Take notes on important points made, skills discussed, vocabulary explained, etc. during class discussions and lessons, even if nothing is written on the board. Your tests during the year and your final exam will cover a great variety of material. Taking notes will ensure that you have the proper information from which to study. The act of writing down information will also help you remember the material better. If you find you are having difficulties figuring out what to write down, please ask me for assistance.
Work on developing better note-taking habits. Consider the following:
- Do you take notes in class? If not, there’s no time like the present to begin. You should have notes from just about every day in English class. Even if nothing is written on the board, you should take notes during class discussions on reading, writing, grammar, etc. If we take the time to stop and talk about something, it’s most likely important, so keep a record of it.
- Are your notes labeled with the date and the topic of the notes? Label notes properly; this will allow you to keep them organized in your notebook and make it easy for you to pick and choose what you need to study for a particular test, quiz, assignment, etc.
- Are your notes legible? If you can’t read them, what good are they? If your handwriting is that bad, consider bringing a laptop in for note-taking.
- Do you take notes as you read? This is a repeat from the “reading habits” section. Academic reading requires more attention than reading for pleasure does. Be an active reader. Take notes (either on separate paper or on post-its) as you read. Jot down questions, outline ideas you want to remember, and mark important passages (key scenes that reveal who a character is, emphasize a work’s theme, provide an important twist in the plot, express the author’s main idea or opinion, explain an idea that you don’t understand, etc.). Organize your notes in a way that will be useful to you during class discussions and/or when you look back at them later.
When taking notes on your reading, try using the graphic organizer linked below.