Study and Learning Strategies—Note-taking

LESSONCThe very act of writing something down may improve your retention of that information. Note taking also increases concentration. Here are some tips for better note-taking:

  • write titles and headings on the page correctly
  • label all notes in notebook with date, topic and page
  • leave a wide margin so you can add questions, comments or new information to it later; make a wide left margin as the recall column
  • skip lines between subtopics
  • circle, underline, or highlight key phrases in notebook when studying
  • interact with the notes soon after taking them; review them, transcribe them into a different form, recite them

To take notes from a textbook:
– use the chapter format to guide you (headings, text boxes, chapter summaries, questions). Skim the whole section before beginning your note-taking.

  • write in your own words what you read
  • describe a sequence of events, steps, or ideas
  • list main topics and subtopics in outline form
  • list details for each main idea and subtopic
  • make semantic map (graphic organizer) for main ideas and subtopics
  • categorize details
  • write a summary for each section

To take notes from a classroom discussion:
– use the tips above

  • write in your own words what is said; do not try to write down every word
  • invent a personal form of shorthand of symbols and abbreviations for common words or phrases
  • use arrows, stars, or asterisks to indicate most important points
  • practice good listening techniques such as: look directly at the speaker, do not talk when the speaker is talking, think along with the speaker
  • listen for key words such as: there are three reasons . . .; in conclusion; an important point is. . .

A printable version of the note-taking tips can be found HERE.

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