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How to Take Book Notes

  1. In many University classes, taking book notes often marks the difference between an A and a B course grade for a normally good to average student.

    1. If you tend not to be organized, the following suggestions concerning book notes are matters of personal preference yet should prove helpful.


      1. Use 3-hole loose-leaf notebook paper and a binder with dividers for various subjects.

        1. In this manner, you can loan specific sets notes without risking the loss of the whole notebook.
        2. You can also easily interleave lecture notes, Photostats, diagrams, and other sources.
        3. Add your syllabus with the aid of a 3-hole punch.

      2. Begin study notes with the following record at the top or margin of the page:

        Text:

        Subject:

        Date:

        Time:
      3. If your teacher is a poor lecturer but follows the textbook, take good notes from the text and supplement them with the lecture notes. Hence, you must read ahead and take notes before the class presentations.


    2. The Use of Books: the P, Q, R, S, T method. Each hour of study should be divided into the following time-periods.

      1. Preview: scan the chapter noting italicized and bold-face type, introductory and concluding sentences, diagrams and tables. (5 minutes).

      2. Question: write out what appear to be key questions covered in the chapter and answer them orally based on what you already know about the subject. (5 minutes) This step is especially important. 

        (The rationale for this step might be initially difficult to understand. Psychologically, we tend to remember better if we have already have in place a conceptual structure by which to compare new information. Consider the student who argues about a 1 point question on a test--this student has a vested interest in the answer and is unlikely to forget the correction.) 

      3. Read: read the chapter carefully and critically. Either underline and make notes in the text or jot down an outline of the key ideas in your notebook or both. (20 minutes).

      4. Study: fill in your outline and mentally review the important concepts by comparing your answers to the text. (20 minutes): fill in your outline and mentally review the important concepts by comparing your answers to the text. (20 minutes).   


        This step is the "study" in the P, Q, R, S, T Method.  It's quite surprising to many teachers that even at the college level, many students assume that the "R" step is the whole sum and substance studying.

      5. Test: shut your book and notes. Repeat, as precisely as you can, all that you can remember about your notes. Important points should be given almost verbatim. Of all steps, this one is the most important. (10 minutes
  1. Do not look up information you have forgotten at this time. Instead, jot down the concept to be reviewed at the next study period (q.v., III, B, 2, b above). (The fact that you don't remember the information at the present time will be of some concern until the next study period when you can put the annoyance to rest.) 

 
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