Chapter 2

Note Taking



∂ New paragraph

^ Add letters, words, or sentences

؂Take out  (it's a scripted e through whatever you want eliminated)

― Change a word (the word or phrase has a straight line through it)

∕ Change a capital to small case

= Change a small case to capital (it's 3 lines under the letter)


σ Transpose letters or words


O Move the circled text toÖ (you can also put a number to         indicate where the circled text should go if it's on another page)

   Incorrect spelling (the mispelled word is underlined)


≈ Make one word (delete space)


^ Insert punctuation



Note Taking

Note Taking

How do you take notes? Where do you keep them? How

do you review them? How do you use them to prepare for an

exam? These are just a few of the aspects of note taking. All

of us are different and will not use the same system. This

chapter will illustrate various note taking techniques.

Symbols can be useful tools in emphasizing important facts,

whether used on your notes taken in class or when studying

from a book or other written material


Some of the symbols commonly used are: bullets ∑, boxes [],

margin notes, highlighting, underlining, checks ,

arrows ŗ , and v for vocabulary to mark unknown words.

Use or develop you own symbols, just so they draw your

attention to the important material.

Examine each of these requirements. Is this how you take

notes? Can you read your old notes? Can you look back on old

notes and remember why you wrote them?

Good note taking is not copying the text of the lecture or

the reading material. It is translating the subject into your

own words.

No one knows how you think as well as you do. Do you like

to abbreviate things, come up with catchy phrases, or write

down only the idea? You can use one or all of these techniques

to create notes that you will keep forever.

From now on whenever you take a note on a lecturer or

an article, plan on having that note as a tool you might use

later. Whether you are taking a class in English, history,

science or computer skills, most of you will be taking a

similar subject again. Why not start getting ready for that class now?




Practical Academic Study Skills Page 13

Note Taking

When taking notes, write the date and subject in the top right corner. Use a new page for each subject. Take your notes on the right two-thirds of the page in chronological order. The left one-third will be used later when you rewrite and clarify class notes. Most people outline their subject as a series of comments written as the lecturer or book presents them.

The most common way of storing notes is in a three-ring binder using standard lined paper. Legal pads are also very popular. They are used with folders which are usually stored in a file cabinet.

Notes on written material

If you are studying written material, the first pages of notes should include title, author, publisher, and date of publication. This is all the material required for a bibliography. Examine the entire assignment and divide the material into sections that you can read in one study period. Organize your notes by chapters following the book or article.

When reading difficult text, it is very important to be able to concentrate. Bring all your thought onto what the author is trying to communicate.

What if you are concentrating and still have no idea what is being discussed? If this is a homework assignment, call a friend and compare notes or write down some questions for the teacher and be prepared to discuss what it is you want to know. If it is a classroom assignment, ask the teacher for assistance.

When taking notes, it is important to rewrite or paraphrase the text. Paraphrase means to give the meaning in a different form.

Try to summarize your chapter, making sure you express the idea in your own terms. When you find something particularly important, use a short quote with quotation marks so you know it is not your paraphrasing. Always write the page number where you copied the quote from. This is especially helpful if you have to write a report later.


Page 14 Practical Academic Study Skills

Note Taking

After you have finished the written material, take some time

to get to know your notes in order. Never erase existing notes.

Use additional comments to clarify and organize, either in a

different color pen or on the left one-third of your note page.

If you are not sure what is meant by you note, return to the

book or article and reread the section.

If you find you have a lot of notes, it is a good idea to take

notes on your notes. Use all the note taking techniques to

draw your attention to the most important areas.

Notes on lectures

The presenter may be speaking too rapidly for you to

take all the notes that you want. Some students tape record

important classes and then take notes at home. The main

idea or keywords used should be written in the order they

were presented.

Most lecturers will stay on one idea at a time, just as you

should when writing a good paragraph. As the ideas presented

change, start a new heading. Try to envision the lecture as a

series of paragraphs and your notes as the original outline.

If your teacher will accept questions during the presentation,

be sure to ask for clarification on anything you are not sure of.

If you are getting behind in the note taking, sometimes you can

ask him/her to slow down or pause while you catch up. If you

have a good question, this will also get him/her to pause and respond.

If you are instructed not to interrupt and do not understand what

was meant, then write a short phrase and put a big ? next to it.

Then, at the end of the lecture, take time to look at your notes

and find any ?ís and ask for clarification.



Practical Academic Study Skills Page 15

Note Taking

Usually the best way is to start at the first question you have. If this is half-way through the material, allow other students to ask first. It is likely they will help you clarify your notes. Perhaps they will even ask one of your questions.

Review your notes

After an important class, plan on reviewing your notes the same day. When you review, use the left margin to clarify your notes. Do not write over or erase the notes taken earlier. Instead, make comments to yourself indicating what it was you thought was important. This way you have two sets of notes with the original intact.

As you develop your own particular style, you will realize that long sentences are not helpful. Rather, write short statements in your own words. Try to get comfortable with a particular style and then do all your note taking that way.

Take time to look up every word you marked with a "V" for vocabulary. This manual has a vocabulary page in the back. Try to keep each subjectís vocabulary on a single page right with the notes for the class. This will help when you review for a test. Also, when you come across the word again you will know where you wrote the definition.

Each lecture or article should start on its own page. The page or pages should be filed in your binder. Some people like to put the newest ones first, others add to the back. Either way keep them chronological. This will help as your memory usually builds on the basis of day-after-day lessons. It also makes the material a lot easier to review.

Some people type their final notes. By typing them into a computer file, they are easily retrieved for studying and writing assignments.



Page 16 Practical Academic Study Skills

 Here's a good video on lecture notes from Dartmouth.  Here's a youtube version.