TIPS ON TAKING NOTES
- Collect notes for each course in one place, in a separate notebook or section of a notebook.
- Write notes on one side of the page only.
- Use a loose-leaf notebook rather than a notebook with a permanent binding. See the pattern of a lecture by spreading out the pages.
- Write name and date of the class on the first sheet for each lecture.
- Use 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper for your notes. This size will allow you to indent and see the structure of your notes.
- Do not perform manual activities which will detract from taking notes. Do not doodle or play with your pen. These activities break eye contact and concentration.
- Enter your notes legibly because it saves time. Make them clear.
- Use abbreviations.
- Box assignments and suggested books so you can identify them quickly.
- Mark ideas which the lecture emphasizes with an arrow or some special symbol.
- Pay close attention to transitional words, phrases, and sentence which signal the end of one idea and the beginning of another. Listen for words such as "therefore", "finally", and "furthermore." They usually signal an important idea.
- Take down examples and sketches which the lecturer presents. Indicate examples with "EX."
- Review your notes as soon as possible. Read through the notes and improve the organization if necessary.
- Listening and note taking are SKILLS. The more you practice these techniques, the more skilled you will become. REALLY TRY TO USE AND IMPROVE THESE SKILLS. Soon you will be able to record the fastest lecturer to your satisfaction.
Your instructor is not going to send up a rocket when she states an important new idea or gives an example, but she will use signals to telegraph what she is doing. Every good speaker does it, and you should expect to receive these signals. For example, she may introduce an example with "for example" as done here.
Other common signals are:
- "There are three reasons why...." (HERE THEY COME!)
- "First...Second... Third...." (THERE THEY ARE!)
- "And most important,...." (A MAIN IDEA!)
- "A major development...." (A MAIN IDEA AGAIN!)
She may signal support material with:
- "On the other hand...."
- "On the contrary...."
- "For example...."
- "In contrast...."
- "As an example...."
- "For instance...."
He may signal conclusion or summary with:
- "In conclusion...."
- "As a result...."
- "In summary...."
- "From this we see...."
She may signal very loud with:
- "Now this is important...."
- "Remember that...."
- "The important idea is that...."
- "The basic concept here is...."