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Note Taking During Class
Teachers use various strategies to indicate to
students what is important. Being aware of these
helps you identify the main ideas.
a) Introductions and conclusions
b) Beginnings and endings are vital. In the
introduction, the lecturer outlines the
important points, connects them with the
previous and next lectures and puts the topic
in context. The conclusion summarises the
c) Linking expressions
Listen for words and phrases that direct you to new
and important ideas or show the relationships
between the points being raised.
Addition words – also, too, in addition, another
Emphasis words – importantly, specifically, especially
Sequencing words – firstly, secondly, next, finally
Contrast words – however, but, despite, on the other
Illustration words – for example, to illustrate, that is
Reason and result words – consequently, because,
therefore, leads to
Summary words – in conclusion, to sum up, in summary
The Cornell method is a useful method for
When taking notes Cornell-style, use two
– a review or key words column on the left
– the notes or details column on the right.
– Use point form to record information, ideas and
your own thinking.
– Colour can help to highlight different points.
Note Taking From Reading
Good notes are purposeful, logical, brief and
accurate. They are your record of your
understanding of what you have read.
Good notes should have:
• key points and minor points
• source material i.e. relevant
bibliographical details of a text
• highlighting techniques, graphics,
colours, underlining to pick out main
• white space, so that you can add to
your notes later on
• abbreviations and symbols
Abbreviations can assist you to make notes
quicker. The table below shows some commonly
used abbreviations, but you should also develop
your own for any frequently used vocabulary.
• No matter what the resource or where it is,
subject-specific keyword lists can help you
refine your search.
• When you're looking for information using
search engines, online catalogues and
databases, there are a few simple techniques
that will help you find what you need:
• use ‘+’ to search for two or more words at a
• don't include small words like ‘at’, ‘a’, ‘in’, ‘of’,
• use quotation marks to search for an exact
phrase, such as a title or a person's name use
nouns instead of verbs
Specialised websites and databases can help to
focus your research by looking at particular
groups of resources instead of the entire web.
They also limit your search by topic, media type
or website format.
Study Time Management
• Set weekly study times for each subject in a
calendar/planner that is colour coded.
• Avoid distractions when studying – no phone,
• Yearly planner that includes assessment dates
so adequate time can be allocated.
• Studying does not just mean homework
completion – review and completion of notes.