Your Guide to Focused Note-Taking: Five Easy Steps to Taking Notes You’ll Actually Remember
Have you ever taken notes on something you learned in class, only to forget everything by the next day? You’re not alone. Luckily, there is a study strategy to help!
Focused Note-Taking (FNT) helps students retain information in five easy-to-master steps. It may seem like a lot at first, but with practice, it will become second-nature!
While participating in Focused Note-Taking, students concentrate on what is mentioned in the text while making connections with things they already know into their notes. This not only helps them learn more effectively, but retain the new information through these associations.
The first step of Focused Note-Taking is to define a purpose or objective, then choose the appropriate format for your topic and write your notes based on the sources provided.
The second step is to “Process” your notes. In this step, you’ll review, clarify and structure your information. You can do this by “annotating.” (For more information about annotating, visit our blog post, “Six Steps to Improve Reading Comprehension and Retention”.) Annotating options include underlining, highlighting, chucking, circling, and removing.
“Connecting Thinking” is the third step of Focused Note-Taking. For this step, you must think beyond your notes, ask questions, and contribute original thought to what you have learned.
The fourth step is to summarize your notes and reflect on what you’ve written. This stage requires considering the notes as a whole. As yourself, “What have I learned? How does this benefit me?”
The fifth and last step of Focused Note-Taking is to apply what you have learned. Demonstrating your understanding of the new information will reinforce its place in your memory.
It is important to note that student must reread their notes several times in order for this learning process to be successful. This repetition ensures that you will retain the knowledge over a long period of time.
woodsonhs.fcps.edu/sites/default/files/media/inline-files/FNT Overview PowerPoint.pdf