Effective note-taking can engage your mind, organize and emphasize important information, provide an avenue for understanding concepts and their relationships, and help you keep a consolidated and condensed record for studying. Here’s some tips to help you become the best note-taker you can be.
How do I take good lecture notes?
- Review any assignments or readings before class. It will make it easier to understand which information is important and which is not.
- Don’t write down everything that you see or hear. Focus on the important information.
- Use keywords or very short sentences.
- Be accurate. Use your own words, but be careful not to change the speaker’s meaning.
- Think before you take notes. Consider how and why you will use this information to study later.
- Have a consistent system of symbols and abbreviations. Leave lots of white space on the page for future thoughts and new understanding.
- Don’t worry about missing a point here or there. No one can write down everything.
- Leave time after class to fill in any clarification or elaboration. You will forget quickly, so do this right away.
- Rewriting notes at a later date, using new pen colors and highlighters, can help cement information in your mind, as well as make studying a more aesthetically- enjoyable experience.
How do I know what to write down?
Instructors usually give clues as to what is important to write down. Some clues are:
- Material written on the board
- Emphasis (tone of voice or length of time)
- Reviews given at the start of class
- Summaries given at the end of class
- Word signals (therefore, there are two sides to the debate, etc.)
What symbols could I use to simplify my notes?
|>||is more than||w/||with||∆||to change to|
|<||is less than||w/o||without||→||leading to, causing|
|=||is equal to||b/c||because||←||as a result of|
|≈||is approximate to||/||per, out of||↑||to increase, go up|
|≠||is not equal to||+||and||↓||to decrease, go down|
How do I write good annotations when I read?
- Think of these notes as a personal response to the author’s ideas.
- Develop a system of highlighting and annotations — and stick to it!
- Be selective. Look for ideas or concepts that will help you accomplish the assignment.
How do I know what is important?
- Important points to which you react (emotionally or intellectually)
- Places where you need further information
- Places where the author reveals his or her reasons for writing
- Ideas you disagree or agree with
- Inconsistencies or fallacies
Kaylan | 2018
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.