There is no such thing as a perfect outline. The only "perfect" outline is one that is structured to meet your study needs.
You must structure your outline (i.e. notes) according to your personal learning style and study needs. A GOOD OUTLINE can serve to improve your study methods by improving the organization of your notes. Making an outline can serve to simplify and organize the material when studying and it also allows you to recall the material easier (i.e. on
a test). In brief, it helps you organize your thoughts and information so that you can learn and remember better. A good outline starts even before you start to outline ....Here is an example of an outline:
I. Establish a good note-filing system for better organization and to aide in taking better notes by:
A. Using a loose leaf notebook.
B. Using folders to separate notes.
C. Titling or putting a heading on each page.
II. Preview the material.
A. Previewing the material helps you to become acquainted with what you are going to take notes on (Read
III. Tips on effective note-taking.
A. Be prepared. Have materials ready (extra erasable pens and/or pencils).
B. Listen for key words or summary statements.
C. If you do not understand where the material fits into your notes; write it down and put it the proper place later.
D. Leave a blank space for missed notes; return to it later when re-writing your notes.
E. Use detailed notes only when the facts are very important to remember, when the material is unfamiliar, when
the material is difficult to understand, when the material is frequently used, or when the material is not avail
able anywhere else. Use quotations only when necessary.
F. Write the notes in your own words. This is important in recalling the material.
G. Re-write your notes as soon as possible. Re-writing notes helps you to remember the material studied and
provides you with a review which will also help you to remember the material studied.
H. Organize your notes according to the way the material was presented.
I. Organize your notes so as to establish the essentials from the non-essentials, deciding what is important and
what is unimportant.
IV. There are several guides to making a good outline.
A. Use a clear title or heading.
B. Assign each note a number/letter to represent its place within the outline.
1. Use Roman numerals for main topics (Section IV is a good example).
2. Use capital letters for subtopics (A, B, C, ...).
3. Use Arabic numerals ( ex. 1, 2 3, ..), small cased letters (ex. a, b, c, ...), numbers in parentheses
respectively for divisions of sub-topics (ex. (1), (2), (3), ...).
4. Indent sub-topic to the right of the preceding main topics.
C. Use the same format whenever possible.
D. Leave wide margins for revisions and additions/ corrections to the outline.
V. Advantages of using an outline.
A. Serves as an excellent study guide.
1. A good outline serves to increase organization for faster learning of important material.
2. Establishes importance of separate ideas/ notes and how they relate to each other.
3. It provides you with a way to remember what you study.
4. It reduces the amount of time and effort needed to master a learning task.
Rewriting the outline and notes helps you to remember the material. Repetition or reviewing material is a central feature of learning. Additionally, an outline helps in the utilization of the MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE STUDY GUIDE.
The Perfect Outline