To take the best notes possible and quickly identify the information that is important, it’s essential to arrive to class prepared. This means:
- Completing assigned readings: At the beginning of many courses, instructors will give their students a list of assigned readings. These assignments often involve reading a chapter or two from a textbook, and they should be completed before class.
- Completing practice problems and/or assignments: In addition to readings, some professors will assign sets of math problems or assignments that require students to answer a series of questions or define key terms.
- Making some initial notes: Although it’s not necessary, making a few basic notes before class can be beneficial. As you complete readings or pre-class assignments, jot down the main ideas and topics that you encounter.
Making sure that you are well prepared before you come to class has several benefits but one of the largest benefits is that it can help you take better notes. Readings will give you a basic understanding of the topic, which will make writing down condensed notes and summarizing important parts of the instructor’s lecture in your own words much easier. In addition, completing math problems and other assignments can help you identify important topics and follow along with examples, and jotting down a few basic points can help you decide if the information that is being discussed in the lecture is something that you should be trying to record or if it is something that is not very important.
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