Flash cards are helpful for organizing economics lists, terms, names, concepts, and illustrations.
Note taking Strategies
Note taking strategies for economics courses include pre-class preparation, the importance of illustrations, and the Cornell approach (S. McCauley, CAL).
Economics lectures may or may not closely follow the text book. If they do, it is important to do the assigned readings before class. Prepare a list of key terms and/or an outline template based on chapter headings prior to class for use in note taking. Make xeroxed copies of the illustrations, enlarging them if necessary. Prepare questions over things you do not understand.
Be sure to record in your notes all illustrations covered in class. If you have trouble drawing or keeping up with the drawings and explanations, take xeroxed copies of graphs and figures from the book with you to each class. Paste the illustration on a blank piece of paper and leave room for labeling it and recording explanations.
The Cornell method of note taking is recommended. In the left-hand recall column record all key terms, concepts, titles of lists, and people. Explanatory information is recorded in the right-hand column.
Completing all reading assignments before class usually aids in comprehension and retention of economics information. The following reading strategies are suggested (S. McCauley, CAL).
Begin the assigned reading by surveying the title, introduction, section headings, and conclusion. Develop questions that may be answered in the reading. Then read one section at a time for content, concentrating on sections that explain the graphs. Recite the main ideas of each section. After reading the chapter, review the content.
Be sure to carefully examine the illustrations that accompany the readings. What concepts are being illustrated? How do they relate to the text? Why are they significant? Practice drawing the graphs and charts yourself.
As each section of the chapter is read, record notes in the margins of the text, identifying the main points, key terms, supporting details, and examples.
Three test preparation strategies for economics courses are discussed here: test foci, practice questions, and illustrations (S. McCauley, CAL).
Determine the Foci
Find out how much the instructor emphasizes lecture material and how much he/she emphasizes reading material. Some instructors prefer that you use textbook definitions of terms and explanations of concepts when answering questions. Others look for their own definitions and interpretations given in class. Budget your time and efforts between lecture and text accordingly.
Making and answering practice questions is very effective in preparing for economics exams. Work individually or with other students to write sample essays, multiple choice, true-false, and other questions. Look for ideas in the review section at the end of each chapter, turn chapter headings into questions, look at old exams, and focus on items emphasized in class. Examples of practice questions are given on the next card.
Carefully review the graphs, charts and figures discussed in class and in the book. Practice reproducing, labeling, and explaining the illustrations. Don't agonize about your artistic talents. Be as specific in your explanations as possible; assume the test grader knows nothing about economics!