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Before launching into those 50 pages or so you need to read from your textbook...breathe, relax, get smart

One of biggest mistakes I made when I started studying law (and there were plenty!) was to open my textbook at the beginning of the set reading and start taking notes from the first page.  Three pages into a 50 page chapter, I felt like I'd rather be eating my own hair.  So, to avoid this misery, get smart.

Before you start taking notes in earnest, have a look at some past papers (together with the PTNs) to get a feel for the kind of issues that are likely to be important for this subject area.  Then focus your note-taking on those issues, rather than working methodically through every single page of the reading.  In addition, pay attention to  the areas covered by your lecturers to help guide your reading and note-taking.

Of course, if it turns out in class that you've missed an important or relevant issue, you can always go back and address this in consolidation. What you do avoid, though, is spending hours taking notes on an area that is irrelevant or never examined.