4 Tips for Writing Notes in Your Own Words

A few years ago, I wrote a post on how to take better notes

One of the strategies in that post is to write notes in your own words

But guess what? I’ve had a few requests on a post about how to do that. How do you write notes in your own words? Especially if you’re struggling to understand the material. 

This is a great question, so I’ll try my best to outline some strategies for writing notes in your own words today! Let’s go! 

Paraphrase PPT Slides
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while (or at all), you probably know I’m pretty preachy about not mindlessly copying PowerPoint slides word-for-word. Just… no. All you’re doing is wasting ink and giving your self a hand cramp. 

READ the slide first, then look away and try to paraphrase what you read in a sentence or two. These are your notes. You’re just trying to pull out the relevant information or facts. If there are pictures, draw those, too 🙂

Look Attentive
When you’re sitting in a lecture, you are playing the active role of a LISTENER. You need to develop an effective listening technique in order to glean anything from the lesson. Active Listening is a strategy that will help you in class (and also in life). 

Read: Strategies for Studying with ADD/ADHD

Just like everything else in life, your body language actually plays a big part in this! Here are some physical signs of Active listening that can help you comprehend and retain what you hear:

-Eye Contact

I mean, you don’t have to stare and creepily stare at your professor for an hour, but do sit up straight, track them with your eyes, and nod your head… basically, use the same courteous body language that you would like your classmates to show you if you were presenting. 

Not only will your professor see you as respectful (you are… aren’t you?), but you send your body the message that this is important, which will keep you focused.

Read: Are You Reading Your Textbooks Correctly? 

Ask Questions
Some other strategies that will help you put information into your own words are to ASK QUESTIONS! I know. I get it. You don’t want to be that person who might add an extra 3 minutes onto class time. 

If you have a question, just ask it! If you need clarification on something the professor said, just ask them! You can ask after class, too. Just make sure you have a basic understanding before you walk out of class every time, okay? 

Read: Note Organization Checklist

Rewrite Notes After Class
When you leave class, put together the information that your professor gave you in the lecture with what you read in the textbook. This is why you always need to read (or at least skim) your textbook chapters before going to class! 

While you rewrite your class notes, make sure they make sense. Write them in words/sentences/phrases YOU understand easily. Make the concepts as simple and easy as you can. 

And of course, make them pretty! 😉 

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What tips do YOU have for writing/rewriting notes in your own words?

-Skills You Need: Active Listening 

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