Evaluate your notes based on 1. Content – how well you accurately recorded information This can be judged by how well you perform on quizzes or exams…if you are missing a lot of the information needed to answer questions on a quiz or exam then perhaps you are not taking effective notes 2. Organization – how well you organize the information If you write down everything without organizing the information, you may find you have a jumble of unrelated facts and ideas. The more organized your notes are, the more easily you will be able to study from them.
Before Class: Read or survey the material that will be covered in the upcoming lecture Review notes from previous class sessions Get the notes from any class session you’ve missed Meet with your instructor to clarify concepts from the last lecture
During Class Date and title each set of notes and keep notes from different classes separate Sit where you can hear and see clearly without distractions Don’t crowd your notes leave blanks to fill in missed items and to expand your notes later Concentrate! Stay involved in the class and ask questions. Join class discussions Take a lot of notes, but don’t try to write every word Use abbreviations and symbols to save time Write legibly so that you can read your own writing Mark ideas that the instructor emphasizes with an arrow, star, or underlining Pay attention to signal words or key phrases that indicate something important is to follow Add examples your professor provides in order to clarify abstract ideas…these can be used to jog your memory later Learn as much as you can in class because this will help you better understand and complete outside assignments
After Class Review notes within 24 hours of class Fill in abbreviations, add omitted points, and correct errors Use information from your text or ask your instructor or a classmate to help you fill in gaps in your notes Use margin space to write key words or phrases – then study by covering your notes and testing yourself on that information using the key words as cues Review your notes several times throughout the week
No one correct way to take notes exists…there are a variety of methods for taking lecture notes. You need to use and adapt the strategy that works best for you and the type of course lecture. Four common Note Taking Systems are: 1. The Outline Method 2. The Block or Paragraph Method 3. The Mapping or Clustering Method 4. The Cornell Note Taking System
Organize your lecture content based on an informal outline This works because it is a familiar form of note taking This works well when the lecturer is well organized and proceeds in an orderly manner from main points to supporting points This is effective as long as students are not distracted by the rules of formal outlining and spend too much time thinking about how they should label the next point in their notes or students are not equating outlining with just writing down key words because one word outlines contain too little of the lecture content
A very simple system: Write the first main topic in heading form or question form starting at the lefthand margin of your notebook Indent a few spaces and then begin to write your notes in block or paragraph form Listen for what the lecturer has to say about the topic and write down as many of the details as you can Remember you do not have to write in complete sentences Concentrate on meaningful phrases