In the know: Taking good notes

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, August 2, 2010

Taking good notes is not just a skill; it's an art form. The first thing good note takers learn is how to pick out the important stuff. Even if you are proficient at shorthand, you can't possibly write down every single word your teacher says. An astute student recognizes that instructors always give clues about what is important. Watch for the following during your lectures, which precede or indicate important information:

  • Introductory phrases and summary statements
  • A big pause or added vocal emphasis
  • Anything written on the chalk board or overhead
  • Information that has been repeated several times
  • Questions to the class
  • Listing (e.g., "The top three reasons antibiotics are becoming resistant are…")

Be sure to review your notes as soon as possible after class. This helps reinforce the material in your mind. And if you miss a lecture, borrow two sets of notes to copy from. This will increase your chances of getting a complete overview of what was covered in class.

For more tips, check out HCPro's book, Stressed Out About Nursing School.

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