How to Take Notes from a Talk or PowerPoint<br />4057650176530<br />One of the skills we will ask you to develop over the next two years is the skill of taking your own notes either from a PowerPoint delivery or from a talk. <br />This is not an easy skill – you have to listen/read, process information, select the important bits and write it down in a meaningful way, all at the same time! So, why do we want you to do this, when it would be very easy just to give you a copy of the PowerPoint?<br /><ul><li>It makes you more actively involved in the lesson and, so, you are more likely to take information in
As you are hearing the information and writing it down again straightaway, you are taking in the key ideas twice and this should help you remember it more easily
Being more focussed on what is said should make you aware of bits you don’t understand and you can ask for clarification there and then, deepening your overall understanding
It’s how universities operate and, learning the skill now, will make you better prepared to do well there
As a useful additional extra, it also saves on the amount of trees sacrificed to educate you! </li></ul>So, here are some tips to get you started:<br />-34290283845<br />BEFORE CLASS:<br />Make sure you are PFL (Prepared For Learning!) – bring a good supply of paper and several pens. A ruler may be helpful and you may like several colour of pens to differentiate between different sections of your notes.<br />Come with a positive attitude – you will learn some new things that will improve your exam prospects – this is why you are making notes, not as some form of archaic punishment!<br />DURING CLASS:<br />GET READY<br />Start each set of notes on a new sheet of paper. Put the date and the general topic at the top e.g. The Music Industry, TV Drama. Then put the specific title for the notes underneath e.g. Case Study: EMI. Often this will be on the title slide of the PowerPoint and you can just copy it! This will allow you later, at a glance, to know what your notes are about and how they fit in to your studies.<br />You may like to divide your paper into two columns – with a line running down the page, dividing your page into two columns, one about 1/3 of the page and the other column occupying 2/3 of the page:<br />Write your notes in the right hand section only and use the left to write headings, summaries of what sections of your notes are about. This may be best done after class, when you can review what you have done.<br />TAKING NOTES:<br /><ul><li>Listen to what is said and what is written on the PowerPoint – you should not be writing manically all the time. It is worth spending time listening and thinking through what is said and only writing what matters most.
As you listen, you will need to concentrate to work out the important bits. You should not write everything down (you won’t have time!), nor do you need to write things down exactly as you see/hear. Listen and look out for key points and jot them down. Most speakers will expand on the key idea a bit or rephrase it, so this should give you time to jot ideas down.
Accept that you won’t get everything – however, often you don’t need every word that is said or written to do well, just the key bits.
Often major sections will be signalled with headings. You should write these down to help structure and organise your notes into useful sections.
342900568960Another tip is not to use full sentences – phrases with the key ideas will do – it’s not an essay! “Violet Hill- free download to tempt sales” will do instead of “Coldplay released the single from their album as a free download, available on iTunes, to try and boost sales of the whole album”.
Use abbreviations – if a name appears a lot, write it in full the first time and thereafter use an abbreviation – Coldplay might become C. You can also abbreviate common words – w could = “with” and w/o could = “without”. You could devise a shortcut for “the” and “not”...?
Use your own words – don’t feel obliged to use the speaker’s!
Don’t worry about spellings – as long as you understand what you write, this should be okay for notes. You can either check afterwards as part of a review process or check when you use them to write an essay. Saying that, if a PowerPoint is being used, you can check the spellings on the slide.
Copy any words you don’t know carefully and look up later – at least, as long as they seem important to the talk.
421957561595Use cues to help work out the structure of the talk/ PowerPoint. Often the speaker will give signals e.g. “there are three important things to note here”, “having looked at the past, we will now look at what is happening today”. These can help you know what to look for. On a PowerPoint, using listing devices like bullet points or numbers/letters also indicates key points and you can use these to help home in on important bits of information.
You may also like to use numbers or bullets to break up your own notes – use one to signal a new point.
Leave space between notes – you can go back later and fill bits in.
Don’t panic if you get behind – simply leave a decent gap and get back on track. You can look at someone else’s notes later and copy up.
If something doesn’t make sense or sparks a question, ask whilst the slide is still there. Understanding what is being said helps you make better notes.
We’ve stressed getting the key points down but talks and slides also often give examples and evidence to back up what is said. You will need to decide if this is useful to note down or not. If you do, make sure it is accurate!
A talk or PowerPoint may well have a summary slide or an aims slide at the start that outlines what the core content is – this can help you check that you have got all that is important.</li></ul>3638550125095AFTER CLASS:<br />Put your notes somewhere they will be kept safe – preferably a file or folder where they won’t get crumpled or torn. <br />Review them as soon as possible – check you can read them; possibly add comments, titles, summary comments in the left-hand column. This will help the ideas sink in and allow you to add things you remember but didn’t get to write down.<br />Store them safely and in an organised system. For example, put all your notes on TV Drama together and store in date order.<br />FINALLY...<br />Taking notes is hard at first but gets easier. At university, you will often have to take notes, as lecturers talk at a normal speaking pace with no PowerPoint and no gaps!!!<br />Since you are not at uni yet, we will try to go at a slightly slower pace to give you time to develop this skill. We also put a lot of our PowerPoints on the departmental blogs – so, you can go to them and check through if you feel you have missed any crucial detail.<br />