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A Few Tips For Finding The Best Way To Take Notes In University Courses

I've been in a number of college classes of all kinds--from food science to art history, and while some were definitely more difficult than others, one of the major keys to unlocking success in each course was taking effective notes. Sounds pretty basic, right? Well, you might be surprised.

One of the first steps to taking effective notes is to determine how you learn best. There are numerous learning styles, so you need to pinpoint just a few that seem to work best for you. For example, I have found for myself that I learn best by listening carefully to the lecture.

Then, you need to decide what that means for you. I am not only a great listener; I am also a slow writer, so trying to take notes by hand with paper and a pen ends up being distracting, keeping me from hearing what is being said, as I am still trying to write what was said two minutes before.

Since I am such an active listener, I find it very effective for me to either take my laptop along with me to class (I type quickly without even looking at my keyboard, so I can easily pay attention while typing up extensive notes) or take along a digital recorder so that I can play back the lecture later on.

It is also helpful to combine these methods so that times when the lecturer or a contributing student are speaking too softly to be picked up by the recorder can be simply filled in by notes taken on the computer.

If you want to explore one or both of these options, be sure to choose a laptop that is highly portable. The first laptop I purchased for use at the university was extremely heavy, and it became a hassle to carry around with me.

Keep in mind how far you have to go to get from class to class and how much strain this will cause on your back to carry it in a backpack or shoulder bag.

Make sure your recorder is professional quality and will be more likely to capture lectures in a clear manner so that you don't have to try to guess about what is being said as you review before exams.

If you are the type of person that becomes easily distracted by the temptations to participate in social networking while on your laptop, then consider going the old-fashioned way: get a notebook and pen.

This is very effective for visual learners, as you can draw diagrams and timelines presented in class, making them simple and accessible for review.

It's up to you to decide what is more effectual when you need to study. You can try several different methods and see what works best in the long run. But once you figure out what works, persist in doing it, and you will definitely see success and less frustration in preparing for crucial exams.


Helping Children Love To Write Creatively

Most of us spend out childhoods wrapped inside the delightful world of our own imaginations. Our inability to make sense of the adult world around is one reason why: it's safe where children "live." Somewhere along the line, reality tends to take over and squelch our creative sides; but if parents and teachers are careful, they can provide a way for their preteen children and students to continue nurturing their imaginations through creative writing.

Give Them a Little Help

It's easy for most young kids to take a simple object like a fork and turn it into a knight in shining armor. But preteens in the process of leaving their imaginative worlds may react to the idea of writing with the following: "But I have nothing to write about." Or, "My life is so boring!" To get their creative juices flowing, offer them prompts so that they don't have to do all the thinking themselves. There are a plethora of creative writing prompts appropriate for all ages on the internet: seek them out.

Don't Sweat the Grammar Too Much

Most kids are discouraged from engaging in creative writing because they are afraid that their grammar won't be "right." Correct grammar is a skill that they will continue to develop as they grow older into high school and young adulthood: adults must be cover not to be such sticklers for correctness that they effectively snuff out any desire for children to be creative. When they write, talk more about their story line than sentence structure; about their character development rather than their punctuation. Encourage kids to illustrate their writings: to give a face to what's going on in their heads. Many children who are reluctant writers find that they can express themselves much more effectively through drawing: they move on to the written word when they're ready.

Find Unique Ways For Them to Hone Their Talents

There are some great summer camps in the United States that are specifically designed to encourage children to express their creativity through writing. If your child is interested in writing, find a camp or community education program where she can receive ideas and encouragement from professionals who know how to really get kids excited about writing again.

Creative writing can be a lifelong enjoyable pursuit for people of all ages and nationalities. But it's important for adults to encourage writers when they are young and provide opportunities for them to grow and develop their talents without judgment. With creative writing, you really don't have to grow up at all!


Tips on How to Write a Novel

At some point in everybody's life, there must have been a book that they could not put down. Some people are so inspired that they even aspire to write their own novels. There are tens of thousands of books being written every year which means writers are more than just a handful. While the truly exceptional ones and bestsellers are really the cream of the crop, you can also pen your own novel if you are truly inspired. Here are some important steps that you should follow when you want to write your own novel.

- You should map out a story and see how the whole story will flow. Mapping out a story is basically just figuring out the different major parts of the story and is different from the whole writing process. However, when you write, it doesn't matter whether you follow step by step or just simply jump in into writing the rest of the story.

- Identifying the plot is an important aspect in writing and the plot should include a beginning, middle and an end. The plot is the main part of the story so without it, the novel simply becomes a string of sentences without a central theme.

- Draw out your main characters and other supporting characters. Novels generally move around a central character that moves towards and around the main plot of the story. Called the protagonist, this character is challenged by an antagonist, someone who goes against everything the main character stands for. You should also create the other characters who can help shed more information about the protagonist and the antagonist and help create a more dynamic and colorful facade for the story. Some of these characters also move towards the end plot while some characters disappear at one point or another in the story. Make your characters believable so the readers can identify with them.

- Tell a lot about the environment where the characters are set. Identify the period or era, identify the place, and other events, happenings and activities in their surrounding so the readers can have a vivid picture of the story and get to better understand and dwell deeper into the situations of the characters.

Other important things you should remember are the following. A good grasp of English is necessary. Even if your writing is not that flawless, editing, re-editing and proofreading can do the job. This is normally done by somebody else so a fresh new set of eyes can see what is wrong compared to what the writer can see. You should also have feelings. While every human being has this, incorporating your feelings and personal experiences is more important than the technicality of writing. General knowledge will also come in handy so you can inject actual world facts without the readers having to question and be distracted by them.

When you start writing, go to a quiet place, with windows perhaps, to clear your mind and draw inspiration. When you're done with your draft, get feedback and see how else you can improve your writing. When you mind is focused and new ideas pop into your head, just sit down and start writing and worry about editing the content later. Before you know it, your novel will be well on its way to being completed.


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