November 25, 2014

Tips For Rewriting Your Lecture Notes

Its hard to believe that the fall semester is almost over. In just a few short weeks, finals will be upon us.
In preparation, I would like to share with you the benefits of rewriting your lecture notes and a few tips.

I find that rewriting my notes is a great study strategy that helps me remember more material and gain a better understanding. I find this especially useful for courses that require you to know a lot of details. While it can be time consuming, I believe it is time well spent.

When:

 As soon as possible! Don't wait until chapters have accumulated. Instead, rewrite notes the same day, while the lecture is still fresh in your mind. This way, you will easily be able to elaborate on concepts that you skimped on for the sake of keeping up.

When rewriting notes soon after lecture, you will also find that you can more readily make connections within the material. Be sure to jot down these connections in your notes. Remember, concepts in a subject all relate to another in some way. Being able to make the connection will help you better understand the material.

Why:  

Organization. Sometimes professors skip around, especially if students asked questions or asked for clarification. By rewriting, you will be able to organize your notes.

Better readability. During lecture, you're likely writing quickly and sloppy. While this helps ensure you capture as much info as possible, it also tends to make your notes difficult to read.

Revision. Sometimes all you get down is one word before the professor is onto the next subject, while other times you have included too much irrelevant information. By rewriting notes, you can address both these issues.

Combine lecture notes with textbook notes. This way all relevant information is in one place and all tied together.

A study mechanism. Studies have shown that writing information down helps you remember it. By rewriting your notes, you are helping to ingrain that information into your memory. Additionally, by revising your notes, you are reviewing the material.

How:  

Read through your notes to help gain a better understanding of the full picture. Mark any parts of your notes that are unclear.

Design a general outline. Identify the main topics, subtopics, and key concepts of the material.

Draw a connection between what is in your lecture notes and what is in the textbook. Add additional clarification from the textbook to your notes.

Rewrite, doesn't mean recopy. One of the reasons rewriting your notes is a helpful study strategy is because you spend more time critically evaluating the material and processing the information. Thus, you do not want to simply recopy your lecture notes. Instead, follow the outline that you created and bring everything together by writing in the details.


Have you tried rewriting your notes before? If so, did you find it beneficial?

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