In some classes, the quality of your notes will determine how well you do in the class. Taking good notes is both easy and extremely helpful when studying for a quiz, test, or exam. Here are some steps to taking good notes in English and History classes:
Step 1: The Date – When you begin to take notes in an English or History class, make sure to print the date in one specific place on the page. This should be the same place on every paper, so you can flip through your notes later and see what date you took them on. I recommend the top right corner, so they are easily visible. The date will help you study only what you need to. If a teacher tells you that the class will be having a test on what you learned over the last two weeks, you know which notes you will need to look over before the test. The date is also helpful if you use a spiral notebook. Pages often get pulled or torn out of a spiral notebook (which is why I use a composition book). If you do choose a spiral notebook though, and the papers do come out, you can easily rearrange them and return them to the spiral notebook with ease.
Step 2: Get It All – If a teacher puts something on the board, write it down! He or she isn’t putting it up there for their own amusement. If they are going to write it, so should you! Everything the teacher puts on the board could be on a test. It doesn’t have to be in the textbook, and teachers assume that if they write something, you will make a note of it.
Step 3: Make It Legible – As a rule of thumb, reading your notes should be easier than writing them. If you exit a class with a bunch of notes that look like random Phoenician symbols, you are going to have to spend a while reading. You want to study, not to decipher. Keep this one in mind. An easy way to improve your handwriting is to not write on your lap or legs. Always write on a table or desk.
Step 4: If All Else Fails – If all else fails, use a laptop. If you can’t spell, your computer will spell check all your notes. If you are a slow writer but a fast typist, type out your notes. If you have a computer with a built in microphone, get voice recognition software. I recommend the more expensive brand. Accuracy is everything when taking notes. If you get the right kind (it will say that it has this feature on the back of the box) you will be able to have the software keep transcribing at the end of the current line, no matter where you click on the page. This makes it so you can constantly edit while the software is taking notes for you. If the software writes does instead of doesn’t, you can fix it without having to stop the transcription.
These are some great steps for taking notes. Make sure to refer back to these if your notes aren’t working, you may have forgotten something. Hope this helps!