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how to take notes from textbooks

How to Take Notes from Textbooks

Textbooks are an all-in-one compilation of all the reading and referencing material that you will ever need while studying. They act as a teacher all by themselves without needing anything to it. Yet, there is always some information that is more important than the other. Learning a whole 300-page textbook is not always a viable option, which is why teachers encourage their students to take notes. Here are a few methods on how to take notes from textbooks in a notebook.

Reference the page number and chapter from the book and write the date.

There are chances that you may make mistakes while writing fast. Or sometimes even forget to add in important details of a concept while copying something from the textbook to a notebook. In situations like these, it becomes difficult to find the concept back in the textbook. To avoid this, whenever you are copying something from the textbook, always mention the page number next to the concept, and divide your notes according to chapters. Writing dates also help you remember things better and keep a track of your study schedule.

Skim through the chapters you want to summarize

Skimming refers to the act of quickly going through a text to understand the main gist of it. When you skim through an entire chapter that you want to take notes of, you understand what are the important things in this chapter and which are the unnecessary and unimportant parts in it. You can then create a mental list of the same, and write your notes accordingly. This will help you read and understand the chapter well. It can also prevent you from writing unnecessary notes, and keep you focused on things that are important.

How to Take Notes from Textbooks
How to Take Notes from Textbooks

Summarize each section in your own words

The entire point of taking notes is to simplify the studying experience. Textbooks often use academic language that might be hard to comprehend at times, especially when you are reading them during exams or a test. Writing in your own words can help with the problem a lot. As you are doing it, you will have to read through the material and understand it well. It is also easier to read and understand something that you wrote in a language you understand as compared to a textbook written by professionals.

Highlight only important key-points

Highlighting is an important part of taking notes. Some parts of the textbooks are simply important and should be learned and remembered as they are. This is when highlighting comes into play. If you can, using different colours of highlighters for different information can help in remembering things better. For example, highlighting important dates, names, statements, etc. in different colours makes the process of locating them easier. Also highlighting the things only which are important, and highlighting unnecessary stuff can end up confusing you. Avoid highlighting complete paragraphs or sentences, this might be overwhelming and would defeat the point of taking notes.

How to Take Notes from Textbooks
How to Take Notes from Textbooks

Use different signs and symbols to make it stand out

Apart from highlighting, making certain things using some symbols or shapes can also help in locating them. If you cannot get highlighters of different colors, or simply prefer having a monochromatic look in your textbooks, signs, and symbols are super helpful for that. These symbols can be simple shapes like a square, a triangle, a circle, etc. Similar to colored highlighters, different shapes can be used to represent different things of importance. You can also create a glossary or an index where you can write down what each shape is supposed to represent.

Keep your scheme simple, with no more than three colors

Making your textbook very colorful and vibrant might sound fun to do, but it could come off as chaotic at times. Too many colors of things can create a mess. You might constantly get confused about what each color is supposed to represent. It can scatter your mind a lot. A minimum of only three colors should be used for markings. This helps in keeping your focus from taking minimum amounts of highlights, which prevents you from marking unimportant things.

How to Take Notes from Textbooks
How to Take Notes from Textbooks

Try to incorporate your lecture without repeating

Textbooks are not the only source of knowledge. In schools and colleges, teachers put in a lot of effort in curating lectures for students and then teaching them. These lectures usually consist of a lot more details than any of the textbooks that are to exist ever. The teachers have read books that have more information than your textbooks. They might have even read books that you have never heard of. Hence, when they are providing lectures with such extensive knowledge, it should be used by you to the best of your ability. Do not limit your notes to the textbook itself, try and use the things you learned in the lectures in it as well.

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