Taking Text Notes = Effective Study Tool Taking notes as you read is another way of “marking” your text Note taking is the best way to get actively involved with your course reading material Knowing that you are going to write forces you to concentrate on what you’re reading When making notes, you are forced to distinguish between important and unimportant information Note taking provides you with the opportunity to put the important information into your own words as you organize it for review
Note Taking Techniques 1. Written notes A. Margin notes B. Notes outside of the text A. Block form B. Summary form C. Outline form 2. Notes with Recall Columns 3. Mapping A. Hierarchical maps B. Semantic webs C. Line maps D. Charting
Written Notes Written notes can take many forms. They can be simple marginal notes in the text that help you focus your reading and help serve as recall cues. Sometimes people put post-it notes in their text to help annotate their reading material. They can be notes taken outside of the text on a separate sheet of paper. These notes can be in block, summary, or outline form. ○ Block form is organizing main ideas and supporting ideas in a block pattern or paragraph format as you are reading. ○ Summary form involves first reading the entire section, then breaking the information down into segments, and writing a condensed version of the text in your own words. ○ Outline form is dividing the reading material into main points and sub points as you condense and organize the information. It is suggested you use informal rather than formal outlining methods. Another way written notes can be gathered is on note cards or index cards. This is ideal for reading material that contains new vocabulary or concepts. These cards then are useful for preparing for quizzes and exams.
Notes with Recall Columns One note taking method is the Cornell Note Taking System that involves dividing note paper into sections. The larger section to the right is for taking notes, the marginal section to the left is for recall words or phrases and questions, the bottom is for a summary statement. Click on the link for more information on the Cornell Note Taking System. The Cornell Note Taking System can be adapted to suit your needs for example, the recall column can be just questions for review or it can just be word cues for recall. In other words you can make the system work for your learning style, your purpose, and your reading material
Mapping Methods The Mapping strategy for note taking is useful because it helps create a visual representation of the reading material. It also is a more active method of note taking because you have to move outside of the author’s organizational framework and create your own. There are four different mapping methods: 1. Hierarchical Maps 2. Semantic Webs 3. Line Maps 4. Charting
Hierarchical Maps To create a hierarchical map: 1. Write the main heading or topic at the top of the page and put a box around it. 2. Then draw lines to indicate the subdivisions (the next level of headings) and write and box each of them 3. You can then further divide each of these points into one or more supporting points. Remember mapping is a very individual method of note taking and many different designs can be used. Maps can also be focused in many different ways.
Semantic Web Instead of using a top-down display, as in the hierarchical map, semantic webs radiate from a central focal point. There are four main components in a semantic web: 1. The core question or concept, which is the main focus of the text chapter or section of your reading material 2. The web strands – these show the subordinate ideas that describe the core concept, the main ideas the author makes about the topic 3. The strand supports – these are the information that provides details and support the web strands 4. The strand ties – these are the words or phrases that are written on the lines that connect all the pieces of information.
Line Map If you do not like drawing circles or squares, you may find that line or wheel maps work well for you To draw a line or wheel map: 1. Write your topic in the center of the paper 2. Add subordinate points on lines that radiate up, down, or out from it. 3. You can insert supporting details by adding lines that extend out from the subordinate points.
Charting This is generally something that is good for sections of your reading material that involves a collection of topics or headings that are all related (types or forms of something) In order to first create a chart, first determine categories and headings. To do this effectively, you will need to read and think about the material in order to determine areas of similarity among the topics or subtopics.