If you’re like most high school and/or college students, you probably throw your notes in your bag after class and forget about them until it’s time to study. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that your notes continue to sit in your bag and don’t even see the light of day until the night before a big exam. It is important to note, however, that one of the key steps to taking good notes is to make sure that you reorganize your notes after class. This is because the average note taker has only a few minutes at most to get the information about each concept down, and the only way for a note taker to make sure that his or her notes are in any sort of logical order is to reorganize them after class. This means that, for you to bring your notes together and form a collection of notes that will actually help you study and/or find the information that you need, you have to know how to take your notes out of your bag and reorganize them after class.
To reorganize your notes, there are three steps that you will typically need to take.
- First, before you try to reorganize your notes, you should compare your notes with another student or compare your notes to your textbook. This is important because the whole point of reorganizing your notes is to make sure that you will be able to find the information that you need, and there’s no point to reorganizing your notes if the information that you need is incorrect or isn’t even there. This means that you need to use a classmate’s notes or your textbook to make sure that all of the information that you need to know is in your notes and that all of the facts that you have recorded are correct.
- Secondly, once you have compared your notes with your textbook or a classmate’s notes and you’re pretty sure that you’ve taken all the notes that you need, you should rewrite all of the sentences that have abbreviations, symbols, missing vowels, and other similar shorthand so that each sentence is short but complete. This is important because some of the abbreviations and other shorthand that you use may make perfect sense to you now, but it may be much more confusing, if not completely impossible to understand, when you’re looking at it in a few weeks. Finally, if your notes seem to jump back and forth from topic to topic seemingly at random, you should rewrite your notes or change the order in which the pages in your notes appear so that all of the major concepts for each topic appear together.