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The ability to take notes during a lecture can mean the difference between passing and failing a class! A person can be a good listener and try to remember everything that was said, but if it is details that you need to remember, you will probably need to take notes. Have you ever been sitting in class and you realize that the girl in front of you resembles super model, Jenny McCarthy? Suddenly, reality sets in! You are supposed to be taking class notes. Being distracted is only one of the problems a student faces during class. There are a few techniques that can help you sharpen your classroom observation skills resulting in better note taking. To assure confidence in any situation a person needs to be prepared and this is equally important in the classroom. A student can accomplish this by bringing writing tools and becoming familiar with the material beforehand. Have you ever felt like you were in the dark of what was being said in class? To improve your chances of understanding and to become more interested in the subject, read over the notes from the previous lecture and the new chapter before going to class. To expand upon this, be sure to jot down any questions you might want to ask in class. Using the textbook can be beneficial especially if the lecture relates closely to the text. Using a recorder to tape the lecture can help if you have a difficult time keeping up with a fast-talking instructor or to guarantee important notes will not be missed. Taking the proper materials to class will insure a good beginning, because the deficiency of a pen and paper can pull your concentration from the lecture that is being presented. Students who get as close as possible to the front and center of the classroom often do better on tests. Have you ever noticed, by sitting in front of the classroom there are fewer interesting or distracting heads to draw your concentration away from taking notes? Focus on your instructor; look him or her in the eye. Imagine that you and the instructor are the only ones in the room and the lecture is a personal talk with you. This will make it easier to ask questions and join into class discussions. Although you may think your question is "dumb", more than likely it is the same question someone else in the class was wanting to know. By sitting up front, this is a way to commit yourself to the class and declare a willingness to take a risk to participate. Finally, the instructor may give clues to when he or she is giving important information. You may notice the instructor repeating an item. Make note of it, because it is probably something that will be on the next test or quiz. Anytime a blackboard or overhead is used, an instructor is taking time to write the material down therefore, consider it important. By watching the instructor's eyes, you may notice him or her glance at their notes. This is probably a signal that the information is especially important. The biggest clue of all, is when the instructor tells the students that certain information is likely to appear on an exam. It is very wise to mark this with a star or highlight the information. Using these clues will certainly improve your note-taking. Sharpening your classroom observation skills can mean the difference between passing and failing a class. So why not take a chance and experiment with a few of these note taking techniques. You might just be surprised at how well they help.

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