For My Students | Admin/Research | PSY | FaCET | WKU 


(adapted from Patty Randolph materials)
  1. Go to class.
    A. Sit where you can see and hear (typically near the front). Research shows better grades are received by students toward the front.
    B. Have adequate paper and writing tools. Some like colored pens/pencils to mark different points.
    C. 3-ring binders allow you to keep your notes in order.
    D. Read your assignment before going to class. It will give
    you the framework to better hear class material. Write down questions that you have and ask them in class. Review the tough parts after class.
    E. Date your notes and number the pages.

  2. Get accurate notes
    A. Develop your own shorthand for words common to a class.
    Use "g" instead of "ing", "&" instead of "and", "w/" for "with", use only consonants etc. You only need to prompt your memory for the words.
    B. Listen for cues of emphasis by the professor and underline or star those items. Cues might be in voice changes, examples, repetition, or saying it is important.
    C. Set the ideas into an outline form, not essay or paragraph. If there is a list, use a separate line for each item.
    D. Exactly record formulas, definitions-- but remember to listen to the explanation too. If the lecturer is going too quickly, ask them to repeat the material or ask another question so you can finish copying the information.
    E. In the margins record questions about the material. Check to see they are all answered before the end of class, or take them to the professor later for clarification. They are important cues to your understanding.
    F. Record everything written on the board or transparency. If you cannot see, ask for clarification. Take turns with classmates to ask for clarification.

  3. After class
    A. Compare your notes to other people's for content. Adopt their best note-taking ideas while you are at it.
    B. Review your notes as soon as possible. Memory loss of 50% w/in 24 hours, 80% w/in 2 weeks.
    C. Periodically review notes every 2 weeks, especially for classes with cumulative exams. This helps you to keep the big picture in view from which the specific ideas follow.
    D. After exams, study your notes for the items you missed. Identify what you left out or misinterpreted. Perhaps you were more careless at the end of class-- then make a special effort to attend at the end of class.

Being a good student involves practicing skills-- skills that can be learned by anyone willing to work and change their behaviors. There is no magic.

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Website created: June 1996. Page Created: June 1996. Last Modified: August 4, 2000.