Monday, November 2, 2015

Effective Studying & Note Taking Tips

Image of an A+ circled

Some students seem to achieve A’s in classes easier than others. What’s the secret? More than likely effective studying and note taking techniques

Here are some tips from Rio Salado Counselor Autumn Cardott to help you make the most of your study time, course materials and note taking-- so you can retain the information you’ll need to ace your exams.

Active Reading
This is a great technique to help you memorize information and to make the most of your note taking. Active reading is when you process and output the information as you read it. Passive reading is how you normally read; trying to learn the information just how it’s written.  Active reading techniques include:


  • Highlighting important text.
  • Writing down thoughts next to passages read.
  • Asking questions about the material.

Here are some commonly asked questions about reading and note taking:

What should you read?
  • Review your syllabus and concentrate on the assigned materials.
  • Before diving into the materials, get an overview by reading summaries and conclusions for a big-picture view.
  • Test your understanding as you go along. Many textbooks include questions for this purpose.

What notes should you take, based on your reading?
  • Focus on the big ideas, relevant details and pay special attention to the introduction and conclusion.
  • Look for visual cues. If text is highlighted or in bold, it’s likely to be important.
  • Take note of information that’s repeated and reinforced.

I realize some topics are easier to get than others. How in-depth you go with textbook note-taking will be based on your level of knowledge on the subject and how hard it is for you.

Here are some additional tips to follow:

1. Read the chapter before the lesson.
2. Divide the chapter into readable chunks.
3. Schedule your note-taking sessions on your “to do” list.
4. Don’t do it all at one time. It’s good to space your reading out so it is stored in your long-term memory.
5. Go over the material and review what you’ve read right away.

We hope you find these tips helpful!

Study hard and take those notes! 

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Autumn Cardott on behalf of Rio Salado Counseling, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

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