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Did you know that you must learn how to take notes from a textbook the right way if you want to soak up all of the information? Although we wish it weren’t true, there is a right and wrong way to take notes. If you’re looking to ace that up and coming test, then you’ll need to know how to take notes from your textbook the right way.

If you weren’t taught in high school the proper way to take notes, then college might become overwhelming as many of your courses will require you to take well-written notes. Luckily, we’re here to help! Although not everyone takes notes the same way or has the same style of learning and remembering key facts, there are a few tips that everyone should follow when taking notes.

Continue reading below for several ways to ensure that you’re taking notes correctly!

Preview Chapters

The first thing that you’ll want to do is preview the chapters that you’ll be taking notes on. What is your test or quiz going to be on? Preview those chapters by flipping through the pages and looking at the chapter headings and subheadings.

Pay attention to the words in bold or underline. All of this information is essential if you want to grasp a general idea of what you’re about to read. Be sure to look at all of the pictures, captions, and other information such as charts or graphs.

These are all just as important as the headings and vocabulary words and are often overlooked, yet they can be a big factor in helping you understand the text. When you get to the end of the text, there will most likely be a section of questions to see what you learned.

Pay attention to these questions as these are the main concepts that you should pick up on during your read. Know what the questions are ahead of time and you should have no problem answering them after reading the text.

Create an Outline

You should now create an outline. Take all of those important concepts that you pulled from your review and use them as the bones of your outline. There are a few different ways to create an outline, so be sure to find a way that works best for you.

You can use the Cornell notes way of outlining or any other form of outlining that helps you stay organized the best. As you read through each section of your text, fill in the key information under it’s heading in your outline. After you finish reading a section, a good tip is to close your text and then pull information from your memory.

Filling out your outline from your memory is a great way to help you remember that information when it’s test time. Open the text back up and be sure to correct any errors you may have made and fill in any missing information as well. All bolded or underlined words for that section should be in your notes.

When done, continue on to the next section and repeat.

Break Down Each Section

Be sure to read one section at a time. You don’t want to read an entire chapter and then go back and try to remember what was most important in each section. Reading the entire chapter at once without breaking it down into section note taking also makes it harder to store all of the valuable information in your memory.

If you read section by section, taking notes for each as you go, you’ll grasp the concept of each section helping you understand the next section even more.

Use Visuals and Colors as Needed

If you hear the word outline and you immediately think, “boring,” then you’re in for a treat. Just because you’re creating an outline doesn’t mean it has to be dull. As mentioned before, everyone learns in a different way and the way you take notes should work well for you.

If you learn best by looking at visuals or color-coordinated notes, then go for it. Never hesitate to add visuals into your outlines such as charts, graphs, or different highlighter colors.

Do keep in mind that when using highlighters, you want to only highlight the keywords from your notes. When using different colors, be sure that each color stands for a specific meaning such as yellow is for vocabulary words and pink is for important people.

Pull Important Details

Always pull the important details when taking notes. Writing down too much can actually set you back. You only want to take the most important information from the text for your notes.

You’ll need to find a balance between taking too little and too many notes. To help find this balance, only focus on the information that you think is essential for passing your test.

Use Annotations

Annotations are a wonderful way to help you take great notes. Your annotations can be written on the side of your notes or on sticky notes that are then stuck to the top of your notes. Your annotations can include different connections that you made between two concepts while reading, questions you want to ask your professor, or something else.

You Now Know How to Take Notes from a Textbook!

After reading through this guide, we now hope that you know how to take notes from a textbook! Remember, you need to do what works best for you, so if something doesn’t seem to be helping you remember, then switch it up! Just keep these tips in mind to guide you along the way!

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