Note-taking begins before the class has started and ends long after the class has finished.Why take notes?
- Taking notes will help you stay focused during lectures and labs.
- Your notes will help you remember what was discussed in class.
- Your notes become study material.
- Taking notes helps you learn new information and retain it.
How can you prepare right from the start of the semester?
- Read the course outline and understand the course objectives.
- Identify the main topics, class schedule, due dates, grading system, and assignment/exam types.
- Figure out how the text connects to the lectures, assignments, and exams.
- Find a reliable student you can get notes from if you’re ill.
What can you do before each class?
- Ask yourself what you are going to learn about during the lecture.
- Connect what you are going to learn with what you already know.
- Read assigned material and review previous notes.
Reflect: How much time do you typically spend getting ready for a class? Reading assigned material and making your own notes on it before class makes it easier to stay involved and identify what is important.
How can you take notes during class?
- Determine the organizational pattern of the material.
- Cause and effect
- Chronological order and process
- Comparison and contrast
- Illustration or example
- Listen and watch for clues that something is important.
- The instructor emphasizes a concept or point through repetition or becomes excited when discussing it.
- The instructor writes it out.
- The instructor says, “This is important” or “This is on the exam” or “Know this.”
How can you take notes effectively?
- Date and number each page.
- Use headings and course heading information at the top of every page.
- Use abbreviations and symbols (ie., defn, org., >, <, &).
- Use your own words whenever possible. You have to understand the material to write in your own words, and it makes it easier to remember.
- Use an outline format with headings, sub-headings, indentation, and a form of numbering to show how major and minor points are connected.
- Use supporting information, examples, and diagrams.
- Leave space for missed material.
- Leave white space between sections.
Reflect: Which of the suggestions have you tried? Are there other methods you use to take notes?
How can you concentrate better in class?
- Sit at the front to minimize distractions, see and hear the instructor and any audio/visual materials better.
- Be interested in the course by relating it to your goals.
- Be an active learner by taking notes, asking questions, joining in discussions, and listening to others.
- Get enough sleep every night.
Reflect: What do you do when you feel you're losing concentration? Pay attention to the signs and have a experiment with different methods for getting back into the class.
How can you take notes during discussions or videos?
- Write a few notes before you leave class or as soon as you can and expand on this later with your reflections.
- Ask your instructor if this is testable material.