Note-taking, study skills, and test preparation are methods and strategies designed to increase your chances of remembering crucial information in a test situation.
How does memory work? There are two basic types of memory – short-term memory and long-term memory. When you first learn something or have a particular experience your brain stores that information in short-term memory. For a variety of reasons, including the sheer abundance of information we each process daily, short-term memories are soon forgotten. Forgetting for the brain is much easier than remembering.
If you can recall information at a later date, then you know that this information has been placed in long-term memory. The best method for creating a long-term memory is through rehearsal.
Rehearsal involves repeating – such as re-reading information in a text, re-writing class notes, using flash cards to drill yourself on facts, and so on. Through this process you re-familiarize your brain with the information so that it will remember it.
Good learning begins with good class notes that:
- Indicate each main idea,
- Show relationships between main ideas,
- Organize minor ideas and details in support of each main idea,
- Remind you of important dates and events such as tests.
Through readings and lectures you are trying to:
- Decide what the Topic of the lecture/reading is
- Decide what the Main Ideas related to the topic are
- Decide what the Supporting Ideas related to each main idea are
- Decide what Examples, if any, are important
- Decide what Relationships exist in the information
The questions you should ask are: Who, What, Why, How, and When