Being students you are all the time over – occupied with the thought of passing examinations or class test or semester test. You often find it hard to cope up with the various examinations and tests. Often you are nervous and feel unduly worried at the prospects of low performance or failure.
Have you ever wondered how some of your peers take everything in their stride and surge ahead with confidence? You see no sign of nervousness on their faces. What makes them do better? Simple. They are well – organised. They know the art of reading. They develop a better method of learning. They follow certain principles while in class or at self – study at home.
However, for effective study you should be attentive in class. Remember to take notes only on material that will help you develop a thorough understanding of your subject. And in a way that is useful and understandable to you. It is better to follow a simple and uncomplicated method which you can use anywhere. If you follow a few basic tips it will help you master the essential skills and become a high achiever in the process.
First and foremost, before you begin make sure you have the following materials at hand; a ball- point pen, a ring binder file, notebook or paper and an active brain. Whatever notes you take down fill them in a binder every night.
Listen first, then write. Listen to what your teacher is saying and take down main points only.
Take notes on what you do not know. Very often your teacher will present material you already know in order to set the stage for further discussion, i.e., give you background of the subject- matter to make it clearer to you. So don’t waste your time in taking down notes of vocabulary terms, formulas and names that you’ll easily find in your textbooks when you review them.
Develop shorthand skill. You don’t have to be master of shorthand to utilise helpful short forms of words for note taking. Leaving out unnecessary vowels and articles is just one way to write quickly while taking notes. Since you can mentally fill them up with letter, why write complete sentences, when you are really trying to get all the really important things your teacher is saying? For instance /indian History can be written ‘Indn His.’
Observe your teacher’s style and then take down notes as per teacher’s plan of teaching..
Summarise a lesson into the following categories and take notes accordingly.
A information not contained in class text.
B explanations of difficult material with in the text.
C demonstration or examples that provide greater understanding of the subject- matter.
D background information that puts the course material in context.
Your teacher may have a style which gives details not relevent to the main subject. Leave out these or note them very briefly.
Review your notes. Take the time to go through your notes in the lunch break, in the library or when you go home. Honestly examine whether they will be understandable when it comes to studying for your examinations. If not, add to them while your memory of the class is still fresh.
This simple note taking each night will put you in greater control of your time and provide you with a better way of organising your student life. You will no longer find yourself spending long hours filling notebook after notebook with useless material. Not will you need to get into those hectic all night crash programmes. Come examination time and you will be armed with your first- rate notes enabling you to have all the essentials at your fingertips in a well- organised and easy- to – revise format.
Of course, this skill can be extended from the class – room to the library or to any reference sourse with equal success.
Try them out. The result will surprise you. And the important thing is never to put off anything till tomorrow what you can do today. Follow your schedule very strictly otherwise you may never be able to catch up with the piled work. Regualarity in whatever you learn in class and what you are asked to do as homework is very essential.
Neatness in whatever you write will give you an edge in revision work. At the time of exam, if your work is clear, you can very easily read it at one glance and learn it more effectively.
You may have excellent notes and facts for a last minute glance but due to poor handwriting you yourself find it difficult to read it. Thus, make sure that you acquire good handwriting. Good handwriting is an asset in itself. It helps in more ways than one.
Remember, the art of reading is to think while you read, so as to digest thoroughly the thought expressed. If you do not once grasp the full purport of a passage, go back and read it again till you do. Also read critically, do not swallow all you read without chewing it first, turning it over in your mind and considering its meaning.