The 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.