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Online Classes: 5 Things You Must Know About Taking Great Notes

Taking NotesTaking great notes can help ensure your success in school. This is as true for online classes as it is for programs at traditional ground campuses. Of course, when you’re going to an online college or university, you have the advantage of being able to pause, rewind and replay any part of a lecture you find important. Even so, taking good notes remains critical to understanding your course work and for recalling the material when it really counts, like during tests!

Here are five things you must know about taking notes that will help you get the most from your online education:

1. Remember, notes are not transcriptions. Many students feel pressure to write down everything an instructor says. This is not only a waste of time, but it’s counterproductive. Notes should condense a day’s lessons into a handful of key points. Do more than that and you’ll just drown the important information in a sea of useless noise.

2. Develop a personal shorthand. Even if you’re watching a recorded lecture online, you probably won’t have time (or the patience) to stop and write your notes in full, proper sentences. Instead, you need to develop an abbreviated language you can use to record information and ideas in the fastest possible way. It doesn’t matter if your notes look like chicken scratches and long as you can read and understand them later. You’re not going to be graded on penmanship and composition. Your notes are for you and you alone.

3. Read your assigned materials before each lecture. This will accomplish two things. First, the lecture will reinforce what you just read, which can make the material clearer and more meaningful. Second, by knowing what’s in your textbooks, you won’t waste time writing down information you already have at your fingertips. For example, during a lecture, you can usually ignore the three F’s: facts, figures and formulas. These are almost always available elsewhere.

4. Focus on what your instructor thinks is important. How can you tell what your instructor thinks is important? Listen! Instructors inevitably repeat the themes and concepts they want you to take from the class. And you can bet these will be the themes and concepts that end up in your tests!

5. Review your notes soon after the lecture. Don’t just take notes and then forget about them. Review them immediately after each lecture to help preserve their meaning and to make any additions or corrections while the material is still fresh in your mind.

At the end of the day, you may wish to type up your hand-written notes and organize them for easy reference as test time approaches. Creating and building a strong set of notes takes some effort, but it’s an investment that can pay off big-time. You’ll remember more. You’ll understand better. And you’ll have to cram less before your exams.

Everest University Is Online!

You can earn a degree in any of several popular career fields with Everest University Online, a division of Everest University. Everest University Online offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting, business, computer information science, criminal justice, homeland security and paralegal. You can study from home or any other Internet-enabled location. And you can study at your own pace and on your own schedule.

For more information about our online degree programs, contact Everest University Online. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at

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