Today we will be discussing the ins and outs of note taking. Note taking is an incredibly useful tool to help in retaining and reviewing information you have either been taught in class or have read through related readings.
So today we are going to look at why, when, and how we should take notes. We will also be looking at specific methods that you can make use of from now on.
Taking notes is important, and useful, because it helps you in so many aspects related to your course. For starters, it helps you get started with writing by organizing your ideas. You can also focus on what information to include in your notes to help better your understanding. It also helps your memory. This, along with well-organized notes, makes exam revision easier as well! And finally, it is also serves as a useful record of information, especially where it came from.
So when should you take these notes?
Basically, the note taking process should be done continuously for a course. Prepare before a class by reading what is assigned. During a class lecture, listen, focus and evaluate on what your professor is sharing with you. And after the class, take time to review and revise your notes so you promote retention.
Make the information and knowledge obtained during class a personal possession.
When entering into a class at the beginning of a semester, one of the first things to be aware of is the instructor. What are the instructor’s expectations and grading methods? Does he or she lecture straight from the text? If so, simply highlighting key passages in the textbook and writing down only key information and problems in the notes during class may be enough. If the instructor utilizes case scenarios or problem-solving methods in class, then writing them out in the form of notes will be helpful to study later. Other things to consider is the use of PowerPoints, outlines, study guides, and the syllabus. All of these will help to tailor the style of note taking most suitable to you.
Before class begins it is important to do the assigned reading or skim the textbook. Be sure to review any notes from the previous lecture and prepare any questions from the reading assignment. Reflect on what was read and anticipate what will be taught during class by checking the syllabus, and be prepared to contribute if the professor likes student interaction during class lectures.
Taking notes during the class lecture is an interactive process that requires the integration of three distinct skills, The first is to show up and sit where you can see and hear clearly. And since you found that excellent spot to hear…you should also actually listen to the lecture.
It is almost impossible to write down every single thing that an instructor has said in a class lecture. To try and do so might mean that important information was missed, so take notes via information categories. Don’t write down everything that is said! Write down key terms and vocabulary that relates to the lecture material. Write down key facts that are stated in the lecture. Write down key figures such as amounts, formulas, ratios, proportions, or any numeric information. Also write down lists such as groups of people, names of groups, items, etc.
Try to evaluate the information the professor provides. Is something being written on the board? Is the professor repeating information several times? Does he spend a lot of time answering a question in class? These are all questions you can be thinking about to determine what to write down from the lecture. And again, get to know your professor and the way he actually teaches. Does he talk fast? Does her rely on the book or on a powerpoint?
Write the information down and do your best to organize your notes properly as you go.
Using the proper organizational form will help you keep track of information. Other organizational methods include noticing the instructor’s verbal and nonverbal cues, leaving blank lines or using the left-hand side of the paper to fill in later, writing legibly.
**Ask how students take notes.** Maybe share how *I* take notes…
There are so many ways to take notes. And today we will briefly look at the SQ4R method, Sentences and phrasing, the mapping method, the Cornell Method, and using a charting style.
Most textbooks are very technical and therefore lack language that is inspiring and compelling; in other words, textbook reading is boring. This may be why so many students avoid reading their assignments, but it does not eliminate the need to actually do the reading. Using the SQ4R method can help make this experience less confusing and more useful.
First, start by Surveying. This means actively reading or skimming the text. Secondly, question. Ask who, what, when, where, why and how for each section. Now is the time to read: read each section So you can record, or writing down, information you’ll need to know. Next recite : recite the answers to the questions you considered earlier. And finally, Review : Look at the whole reading, your questions, and your notes.
One of the most common styles of note-taking is the sentence style. In these examples, the important information is arranged to form a complete sentence to help encourage retention. When reviewing notes from a lecture, the verbal learner may be able to retain more information by writing the notes into full sentences.
You can expand on the information in these sentences by using bullet points, as well. For example, it’s great that we know that Woodrow Wilson presented his 14 Points to Congress on January 8, 1918…but what are the 14 Points? Why were they important? Answer these questions as you continue to take your notes.
The mapping method of note-taking involves writing your notes so that they are connected by main ideas.
Here we have a central idea of a tree house. The first branches go out to the main things you need; a tree, money, supplies, and a plan. After that, think of how you will accomplish each of those parts. For example, what notes/ways can you acquire the funds?
This version of note-taking would probably best be utilized by visual learners who retain what they see in pictures, diagrams, etc. This can actually make note taking very fun! Draw cartoons or doodles that RELATE to your note taking.
One of the most popular forms of note taking is the Cornell Method. This method requires sectioning your paper in to different areas. Leave room for a heading at the top of your page so you can label the content of your notes. Draw a line slightly more to the left of the page, and draw a line across closer to the bottom. We know have three sections to utilize. The first section is our “MAIN NOTE TAKING SPACE.” This is where the bulk of your notes are going to be collected. To the left is our “RECALL COLUMN” Use this space to identify keywords or ask questions to help guide you when reviewing your notes later. And finally, we have the “SUMMARY SPACE.” This space is used to briefly explain what the notes you have taken are discussing.
Looking at these notes, we see that the first step in this Cornell Method of taking notes example is preparation, and it is noted that attendance is important. Hearing the lecture and taking notes is not the same as borrowing notes from a classmate. The suggestion is to read the assignment or make a survey of the material to build a mental schema because it is an important part of preparation.
The charting method is another way to organize notes to help with retention of information. This is another helpful tool for visual learners. In this method, the notes are separated into a table to help with the organization of information. We know what dates, people, and events are important and why.
An optional method to the charting method is the rubrics method of note taking. This type of organization is also useful for visual learners. This is similar to the charting method, but allows for a more specific division of information into categories.
So class is over. What do you do next?
Well, part of having good note-taking skills is not just how they are taken, but what is done with them after leaving the lecture. Obviously, reviewing the notes is one of the most important things that can be done to retain the information.
Think about the content and the relevance of the information in the notes and consider if you have an opinion about the material. Use the well-written notes to discuss what was learned with classmates.
Be sure to highlight the main points throughout the notes, or in the textbook. But be careful not to over highlight!
In conclusion, taking good notes is a skill that can be learned and mastered. It is a valuable tool that can be used in school to be a better student, and also in a professional career. Taking good notes requires specific activities to be done before, during, and after class including: reading the assignment before class, listening, evaluating, and recording during class, and reviewing, reflecting on, and discussing the material in the notes after class.
Note Taking Workshop
How to take and review notes
Presented by the
Student Success and
Before: Read/review assigned readings
During: Listen, focus, and evaluate
After: Review, revise, and reflect
How to Take Notes
Make the information and
knowledge obtained during
class a personal possession.
Get to know your professor.
What are your instructor’s expectations and grading methods?
Does your instructor lecture straight from the text?
Does the professor utilize case scenarios/problem solving methods in
Do the assigned reading or skim textbook
Review notes from previous lecture
Prepare any questions from reading assignment
Before Lecture Begins!
Sit where you can see and hear clearly.
Listen to everything, but don’t write everything down!
Keep track of key terms, facts, figures, and lists.
Evaluate the information the professor provides.
Become comfortable with how the professor lectures.
Does he talk fast? Does he use the book frequently?
During Class Lecture
Record the information (note taking!)
Organize your notes properly
Listing, time sequence,
Notice the professors verbal and
During Class Lecture
FDR established the Brain Trust to assist his
administration to form New Deal Policy/1933
Woodrow Wilson presented his Fourteen Points to
the Congress January 8, 1918.
Wilson: 28th President
The Fourteen Points were America’s terms of peace
1. “open covenants of peace openly arrived at”
Example of Cornell Note Taking Method
Taking Lecture Notes
**Attendance is important!!!
Separate notebooks and folders
- Rule off a 1-1/2 to 2 inch margin
- Title, subtitles, summary
- Builds mental schema
NOTE: If instructor follows book closely, read & mark,
then take book to class.
It is important to prepare for lecture by reading or previewing
How can I
What steps are
included in a
1.strong, loyal subjects
3. Pomp and ceremony
1.Enough soldiers-supply by
2.High wages, good weapons
3.leaders often corrupt
2.laws: enforced, disputes
settled by local leaders
3.jobs given on merit
1.money for poor and
3. trade: geography through
Ch’in Shi Huang Ti
1.inherited throne at 13
2.lead by example
2.powerful army w/fighting
3.people punished severely
1.ends feudalism-kills nobility
3.organized 18 provinces,
central bureaucracy, central
1.family: education, religion,
economy, social, health
1.just, tolerant ruler
2.imperial government and
controlled strong army
3.Ahura Mazda worshiped
Delian League: created for
treasury used to build Athens
1.responsible satrapies (20)
and tribal leaders
2.5 made effective control
3.leaders by area
4.collected taxes leaders
military and adminis
2. fair taxes
Ruler Military EconomicBureaucracy
You can master taking notes well.
You will use this tool in both school and work.
Taking notes well requires specific activities:
Read your assignments before class
Listen, evaluate, and record during class
review, reflect on, and discuss the material in your notes
Need a refresher? Take our Note Taking quiz!
What note taking method do you like best?
Will you change the way you take notes?
How about you?
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