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TRiO Lab Hours & Tutor Schedule | Helpful Tips


How To Edit Notes:

What is it?

  • A system if correcting, revising and adding to your text or lecture notes

Why edit?

  • To make your notes more accurate and complete
  • To organize your notes

How to edit:

  • Read your notes
  • Plan to spend 5 to 10 minutes per one set of notes
  • Try to edit within 24 hours after taking the notes
  • Color code
  • Main ideas
  • Details
  • Definitions
  • Words in italics
  • Information stressed by the teacher
  • Turn headings into questions and try to answer them
  • Clarify points and meanings and make connections
  • Add personal insights
  • List questions to ask the teacher or your tutor

Start by:

  • Using only ink (erasable pens are great)-pencils smear and fade
  • Use a separate notebook for each class-leave room for an assignment
  • Use standard size notebook paper
  • Leave "heading room"; for a box to contain special codes
  • Always write the topic and date at the top of the page
  • Leave blank spaces between lines so that you can add information later
  • Don't try to write every word or thought
  • Sit in the front of the class to avoid distractions and to see better
  • Listen more than you write
  • Listen closely to lecture introductions and summaries
  • Pay attention to concluding statements of films

Problems in Note-Taking and How to Solve Them

  • Speaker talks too fast; speaks in a monotone or has a speech problem.
    Try to adjust your ear and mind quickly; be a good listener.

  • The speaker is boring.
    Force yourself to become an “active listener.” Guess what's coming next, make connecting points with the material presented, and think of questions to ask.

  • The speaker uses difficult vocabulary.
    Read the text that the speaker will cover before the lecture.

  • The speaker rambles.
    Write something about each topic mentioned. Listen for introductory and concluding statements.

  • You do not like the speaker.
    Don't waste time or energy thinking about why you do not like the speaker. You need the information, so get on with note taking.


  • The text is boring.
    Break the information into small units. Read an entire unit and then go back and take notes. Set a goal of completing so many units and then reward yourself.

  • There's too much material and not enough time.
    Form a study group. Divide the material to be covered and assign specific pages, chapters, etc., to each member. Ask each member to take thorough notes and study information. Then return to the group and orally share the assigned material.

  • You still don't understand the material after reading it numerous times.
    Form a study group (see above) and talk it through with friends. Seek tutors in your school or community.

Tips For Writing Successful Papers

I. Set a schedule and begin a research journal.

  • Data entries
  • Record your ideas and activities
  • Keeping a journal can expand the thinking process

II. Finding the right topic.

  • Find a topic that interests you
  • Start with your own thoughts
  • Avoid recent topics
  • Write down questions about your topic
  • Will the topic suit the length of the paper

III. Set research goals.

  • Take time to find out the facts
  • Brainstorm your own thoughts
  • Consult a mixture of sources

IV. Find sources that are both printed and electronic.

  • Keep a working bibliography

V. Evaluate your sources.

VI. Take notes using note cards.

  • Summarize
  • Paraphrase
  • Direct quotations

VII. Develop a thesis statement and outline.

VIII. Draft your paper using:

  • Summaries
  • Quotations
  • Paraphrases

IX. Edit and review your paper.

X. Site your sources.

XI. Prepare your list of work cited.

XII. Prepare final draft.


  • Intend to accomplish your goal in a reasonable amount of time
  • Be realistic in eliminating excuses; reward yourself for positive behavior
  • Break up long-term assignments into reasonable units.
  • Set priorities carefully in order to save time.
  • Keep organized
  • Make daily “to-do” list.
  • Make realistic schedules and follow them.
  • Use quality study time – not quantity study time.
  • Make time to warm up your mind and review your knowledge.
  • Always ask yourself if that was the best use of your time.


Good Habits For Better Concentration:

  • Intend to study and learn.
  • Become interested in the subject.
  • Know yourself
  • Set clear and realistic goals.
  • Exclude distractions.
  • Use a timer to remind you that a certain amount of time has passed.
  • Eliminate daydreaming from study time.
  • Vary your routine within the study block.
  • Summarize more often
  • Reward yourself for focused, sustained concentration.


I. Gather all materials needed.
II. Set your mind to study.
III. Set priorities for assignments. (Map out a time line.)
IV. Warm up your brain.
V. Review familiar material first.
VI. Apply knowledge of how you learn to warm up and study.


  • Review
  • Over learn
  • Evaluate


Multiple-Choice Tests

  • Read the directions
  • Work Quickly
  • Flag questions about which you are unsure and answer these later
  • Look for key words
  • Guess the answer before reading the choices
  • Separate questions or answers into smaller parts
  • Read all choices before deciding
  • Cross out obvious wrong answers
  • Watch for grammatical clues
  • Look for familiar phrases from lecture or text
  • Don't change answers if you are not 100% sure

True and False Tests

  • Read the directions
  • If you must guess answer true because the odds are better
  • Do not analyze each question for deeper meaning
  • Break the question into separate parts if you are confused
  • Statements with reasons tend to be false
  • Don't change your answers
  • Answer every question
  • All parts of a true/false question must be true before it can be true
  • Look for key words
    -because, no one, nobody, only, all, never, generally, some, never, always

Matching Tests

  • Read the directions
  • Find out if each answer is used once or more than once
  • Read both columns before starting
  • Choose the longest column and work down that one first
  • Cross off used answers as you go
  • Use the process of elimination to your advantage
  • Try to remember where you saw this item in your text or notes

Fill-In-The-Blank Tests

  • Read the directions
  • Look for clue words – a, an, the, these, those, they
  • Look for tense agreement
  • Write something in the blank for partial credit
  • Try to picture the concept at a certain place in your notes or text

Essay Tests

  • Read the directions
  • Anticipate test questions from definitions, lists, handouts, and study guides.
  • If the instructor emphasized a topic expect a question
  • For each anticipated question construct a brief outline
  • Remember three ingredients of an essay: knowledge of subject, organization of ideas, writing skills
  • Begin with the essay question that is worth the most points
  • Budget your time for each question
  • Read all the questions so you don't repeat information
  • Review the essay answer format below:

Clearly state the main points
Change the original question to a statement and include the main points

Include a transitional word or statement in each paragraph
Include main ideas in each paragraph with supporting details and examples

Begin with a good summary statement
Include the main points covered in the body State how you proved, supported or defended your original intent in the introduction


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