The best note takers
are often the most successful college students.
Part of the challenge
in taking good notes is that teaching styles vary from instructor to instructor
- so do lecturing styles. Some instructors are well organized, and some
wander; some are story tellers, allowing students to determine how the
story is significant. It is essential for students to determine an instructor's
lecturing style andmethod for divulging important ideas. This
helps them determine what information needs to be included in notes taken
during a lecture.
In order to aid students
in developing good note-taking skills in the classroom, it is important
to provide them with a working knowledge about the subject. Therefore,
it is critical to have them actually engage in the art of taking notes
version of this course provides basic information about developing notetaking
skills. It also models the development of notetaking skills through a
group of virtual students who are listening to information provided by
other members of the group.
TAKING NOTES IN CLASS
BEFORE THE LECTURE
Make some preparation
for the lecture so that you will be more likely to predict the organization
of the lecture.
COURSE OUTLINE to see if the lecturer has listed the topic or
key ideas in the upcoming lecture. If so, convert this information
into questions to be answered in the lecture.
THE LECTURE, complete outside reading or reference assignments.
THE TEXT ASSIGNMENT and any reading notes taken.
NOTES from the previous lecture.
Sit as near
to the front of the room as possible to eliminate distractions.
on the blackboard and transparencies, especially the outline.
Have a proper
attitude. Listening well is a matter of paying close attention.
Be prepared to be open-minded to what the lecturer may say even
though you may disagree with it.
DURING THE LECTURE:
Have your lecture
paper and pencil or pen ready.
the title of the lecture, the name of the course and the date.
Watch the speaker
to the introduction (if there is one). Hear the lecture. By knowing
his outline, you will be better prepared to anticipate what notes
you will need to take.
Be brief in
your note taking. Summarize your notes in your own words, not the
instructor's. Remember: your goal is to understand what she
is saying, not to try to record exactly everything she says.
Try to recognize
main ideas by signal words that indicate something important is
to follow. Examples: "First, Second, Next, Then, Thus, Another important...,"
Jot down details
or examples that support the mainideas. Give special attention to
details not covered in the textbook.
If there is
a summary at the end of the lecture, pay close attention to it.
You can use it to check the organization of your notes. If your
notes seem disorganized, copy down the main points covered in the
summary. It will help in revising your notes later.
At the end
of the lecture, ask questions about points you did not understand.
Don't be in
a rush. Be attentive, listen and take notes right up to the point
at which the instructor dismisses you. If you are gathering together
your personal belongings when you should be listening, you're bound
to miss an important point--perhaps an announcement about the next
AFTER THE LECTURE:
notes as quickly as possible, preferably immediately after the lecture
since at that time you will still remember a good deal of the lecture.
first review period after the lecture, coordinate reading and lecture
lecture notes AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK. Also, review the lecture notes
before the next lecture.
TIPS ON TAKING NOTES
Collect notes for
each course in one place, in a separate notebook or section of a notebook.
Write notes on
one side of the page only.
Use a loose-leaf
notebook rather than a notebook with a permanent binding. See the pattern
of a lecture by spreading out the pages.
Write name and
date of the class on the first sheet for each lecture.
Use 8 1/2 x 11
sheets of paper for your notes. This size will allow you to indent and
see the structure of your notes.
Do not perform
manual activities which will detract from taking notes. Do not doodle
or play with your pen. These activities break eye contact and concentration.
Enter your notes
legibly because it saves time. Make them clear.
and suggested books so you can identify them quickly.
Mark ideas which
the lecture emphasizes with an arrow or some special symbol.
Pay close attention
to transitional words, phrases, and sentence which signal the end of
one idea and the beginning of another. Listen for words such as "therefore",
"finally", and "furthermore." They usually signal an important idea.
Take down examples
and sketches which the lecturer presents. Indicate examples with "EX."
Review your notes
as soon as possible. Read through the notes and improve the organization
Listening and note
taking are SKILLS. The more you practice these techniques, the more
skilled you will become. REALLY TRY TO USE AND IMPROVE THESE SKILLS.
Soon you will be able to record the fastest lecturer to your satisfaction.