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GRE: Note taking skills to help you

Posted on September 3, 2020
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GRE Coaching

During the GRE test, the test administrator will provide you with scratch paper for use during the test. There are certain rules regarding the use of scratch paper during the test. Let us look at some of them.

Scratch paper is not to be used before the test or during breaks 

The scratch paper, in its entirety, must be returned to the test center administrator at the end of the test session.  You cannot bring your own paper at any time and you cannot remove any paper from the test room or write on anything other than the paper (e.g. computer or workstation) provided.

Effective use of scratch paper 

Good note-taking skills are relevant not only for GRE but also for many other similar exams. Good note-taking, however, like any skill, requires practice. Here are some of the tips to help take better notes and do one’s best on the day of the exam!

Firstly, keep it simple. Write down only keywords and concepts, not sentences. These can be extracted from Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Analytical Writing passages.  Always try to focus on capturing just the main points.

Using symbols and shorthand can help you capture information faster.

  • Use symbols as connections or transitions.
  • Use only the first syllable of a word or eliminate final letters.
  • Use an apostrophe.
  • Leave out unimportant verbs.
  • Leave out a, an, and the.
  • After writing out a term once in full, use an abbreviation: University of the South Palace (USP)

Find a note-taking system that works for you 

The main thing is that you want no new details lost. Find a method that will work for you. There are a variety of different note-taking methods that you can use, depending on your learning style, and the type of knowledge being presented. The outline method is a popular choice that organizes important points through indenting.

Others use mind maps or diagrams to assist in graphically collecting details. Again, use arrows to connect words physically which signify ideas that link together. Use arrows to explain causes and consequences in the natural sciences or in the sense of historical events, or to signify the chronological order in which historical events took place.

 You can use one excellent method to practice reading and taking notes of scholarly content in journals, magazines, blogs, etc. The most important lesson is that after writing down the important information on the notes you don’t go back to the original source. Note-taking is intended to save time without having to go back and forth.

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