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Note Taking Tips and Strategies

Outlines tips for lecture note taking first then strategies for taking notes on course reading.

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Note Taking Tips and Strategies

  1. 1. Success Workshop Student Academic Support Services
  2. 2. 1.Before Class Read Review notes Be prepared 2. During Class Listen for clues Stress general ideas Use your own words Listen-Think-Write 3. After Class Organize/Reduce Rehearse Reflect Review
  3. 3. Attend ALL lectures Sit near the front of the classroom Use a separate notebook or binder for each course Date your notes (This matters around test time!) Write on one side of the page Have pens and pencils ready If text is referenced, have it open and ready Get excited! It will help you stay organized and focused.
  4. 4.  Tune in and maintain eye contact  Listen for a statement of purpose  Keep listening even if lecture becomes confusing  Focus on ideas, facts, or procedures  Stay objective if material is controversial  To truly listen, you must be attentive! Hearing is a physical act that does not necessarily involve thought.
  5. 5. When the speaker:  Pauses or slows down  Repeats a point  Modulates the volume of his/her voice  Uses introductory phrases (such as, “The four main points are…” or “Note the relationship…”)  Writes on the board  Gestures or uses visual aids
  6. 6.  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.
  7. 7.  Words or concepts are repeated  Introductory & concluding transition phrases are used  Words signaling relationship, new subject, conclusions, or examples are used  Anything is written on the board or overheads  A direct statement is made (such as, “This will probably be on the test.” OR “Star this in your notes.”)  An example is used…record the instructor’s examples (You’ll often find them on the test.)  The instructor’s level of interest rises, he gets excited, or more animated  Anything is presented in a list form  You don’t understand it. If a term or concept is used that you don’t understand or can’t spell, circle it to check later
  8. 8.  Strive to detect main ideas  Capture ideas, facts, procedures  Skip lines between main ideas (this gives you room to fill in missing info you remember later)  Look for the professor’s organizational pattern!
  9. 9. You shouldn’t… Consider an example too obvious Overload yourself with abbreviations Give up if the lecturer is too fast/too slow Stop to ponder for too long Over indent or waste space Wait for something “important” Look only for facts Doodle Text message or play games on cell phone Work on other homework
  10. 10. Use fragments: Don’t try to write down every word spoken. Do get the most important stuff. Leave spaces if you didn’t understand or need to add something you missed (statistics, diagrams, or charts) later. Develop your own system of abbreviations and symbols. Find your own style! If your handwriting is messy, recopy or type up your notes neatly while the info is still fresh in your mind.
  11. 11. Ask the instructor to go slower or repeat a point Prepare before class Trade copies of notes with friends If available, attend S.I. (Supplemental Instruction) Ask for clarification Check with instructor after class Leave spaces in notes for filling in the blanks Use a tape recorder
  12. 12.  Get plenty of sleep  Utilize caffeine or energy foods & drinks  Sit in the front of the class and lean forward in your chair  Chew gum or eat candy (if you can do so quietly)  Review text & note headings before class, making notes in text during class  Illustrate notes with pertinent info (charts, graphs, etc.)  Note anecdotes and relate them to text or lecture info that may be on exams  Work out before class  Keep a stress ball/small toy in bag to stimulate circulation in hands and arms DO learn from this experience!  Avoid scheduling classes when you know you’ll be catatonic  Ask your peers which professors are engaging
  13. 13. Do NOT: Wear overly comfortable/warm clothes Eat big meals shortly before class Sit in the back of the classroom Lay your head down or recline in your chair
  14. 14. How to get the most out of your reading
  15. 15. Marking up a Text  While you read a section, underline key sentences (or important parts of sentences). Underline what seems to be the most important idea in each paragraph.  Remember: underlining highlights by contrast, so underline only what is important.  When you look up a word’s definition, write the definition in the margin next to the word.  Try to separate points from support. Write “sup” in the margin next to a supporting detail. If several supporting details (or reasons)are given, label them and then number each one in the margin. This will help you see how many the author provides.Draw arrows to connect each piece of support to the point it illustrates.  Draw pictures to illustrate concepts – whatever will help you understand and remember.  Make whatever other notes in the margins that will help you concentrate on and comprehend your reading.
  16. 16. Marking up a Text (continued):  An alternative to the marking up method requires the use of sticky notes. Using sticky notes is a great alternative when you cannot or do not want to mark in or on your text. 1. As your read, write the main idea of each paragraph on a sticky note and post it on or beside that paragraph. 2. Use a sticky note to write at least three vocabulary words you do not understand. Post those words at the beginning or end of the reading. Look up those words and write their definition on a separate piece of notebook paper. 3. Put a sticky note with an arrow beside any section that you feel is particularly interesting (use a “*”) or confusing (use a “?”).
  17. 17. Taking Text Notes = Effective Study Tool  Taking notes as you read is another way of “marking” your text.  Note taking is the best way to get actively involved with your course reading material  Knowing that you are going to write forces you to concentrate on what you’re reading  When making notes, you are forced to distinguish between important and unimportant information  Note taking provides you with the opportunity to put the important information into your own words as you organize it for review
  18. 18. Note Taking Techniques 1. Written notes - Notes outside of the text A. Block form B. Summary form C. Outline form 2. Notes with Recall Columns A. DED B. Cornell Note Taking System 3. Mapping A. Hierarchical maps B. Semantic webs C. Line maps D. Charting
  19. 19. Written Notes  Notes taken outside of the text on a separate sheet of paper can be the most valuable form of note taking for your reading. These notes can be in block, summary, or outline form. ○ Block form is organizing main ideas and supporting ideas in a block pattern or paragraph format as you are reading. ○ Summary form involves first reading the entire section, then breaking the information down into segments, and writing a condensed version of the text in your own words. ○ Outline form is dividing the reading material into main points and sub points as you condense and organize the information. It is suggested you use informal rather than formal outlining methods.  Another way written notes can be gathered is on note cards or index cards. This is ideal for reading material that contains new vocabulary or concepts. These cards then are useful for preparing for quizzes and exams.
  20. 20. Notes with Recall Columns Style #1 - Double-entry Diaries (DED):  DEDs are similar to taking notes.  Assists you with Comprehension. Try some of the following DED strategies: ○ Divide page in half with questions and main ideas on the left and specific information on the right. ○ Divide page in half with direct quote from text and page number on the left and thinking options on the right (reader’s reactions). A sample of this type of DED is on the next slide. ○ Divide page in half with facts or details on the left and author’s message on the right. ○ Divide page in half with confusing part in text on the left and reader’s attempt to get unstuck on the right. ○ Divide page in half with new/confusing vocabulary on the left and reader’s knowledge on the right.
  21. 21. Notes with Recall Columns Style #2 - Cornell Note Taking System, which involves dividing note paper into three sections. The larger section to the right is for taking notes, the marginal section to the left is for recall words or phrases and questions, the bottom is for a summary statement.  The Cornell Note Taking System can be adapted to suit your needs for example, the recall column can be just questions for review or it can just be word cues for recall. In other words you can make the system work for your learning style, your purpose, and your reading material.
  22. 22. Mapping Methods  The Mapping strategy for note taking is useful because it helps create a visual representation of the reading material. It also is a more active method of note taking because you have to move outside of the author’s organizational framework and create your own. There are four different mapping methods: 1. Hierarchical Maps 2. Semantic Webs 3. Line Maps 4. Charting
  23. 23. Hierarchical Maps  To create a hierarchical map: 1. Write the main heading or topic at the top of the page and put a box around it. 2. Then draw lines to indicate the subdivisions (the next level of headings) and write and box each of them 3. You can then further divide each of these points into one or more supporting points.  Remember mapping is a very individual method of note taking and many different designs can be used. Maps can also be focused in many different ways.
  24. 24. SampleHierarchicalMap
  25. 25. Semantic Web  Instead of using a top-down display, as in the hierarchical map, semantic webs radiate from a central focal point. There are four main components in a semantic web: 1. The core question or concept, which is the main focus of the text chapter or section of your reading material 2. The web strands – these show the subordinate ideas that describe the core concept, the main ideas the author makes about the topic 3. The strand supports – these are the information that provides details and support the web strands 4. The strand ties – these are the words or phrases that are written on the lines that connect all the pieces of information.
  26. 26. SampleSemanticWeb
  27. 27. Line Map  If you do not like drawing circles or squares, you may find that line or wheel maps work well for you  To draw a line or wheel map: 1. Write your topic in the center of the paper 2. Add subordinate points on lines that radiate up, down, or out from it. 3. You can insert supporting details by adding lines that extend out from the subordinate points.
  28. 28. SampleLineMap
  29. 29. Charting  This is generally something that is good for sections of your reading material that involves a collection of topics or headings that are all related (types or forms of something)  In order to first create a chart, first determine categories and headings. To do this effectively, you will need to read and think about the material in order to determine areas of similarity among the topics or subtopics.
  30. 30. Categories Examples Short-term effects Long-term effects Stimulants Depressants Hallucinogens Narcotics Drug Categories SampleNoteTakingChart
  31. 31. Source  Van Blerkom, Dianna L. College Study Skill: Becoming a Strategic Learner. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, 2011. Print.
  32. 32. Digital Annotation Tools 1. Diigo - It’s one of the most commonly used free web annotation tools which lets you bookmark and tag web pages. In addition to that, you would also be able to highlight a part of a webpage if you wish to emphasize something and attach sticky notes to it. Found at: 2. A.nnotate - A.nnotate is not just a free annotation tool but also a collaboration and indexing tool. It can be used to catalogue images and other document formats. It also makes it easier for you to work with a group especially when documents are needed to be sent through email back and forth because of comments of different users. Found at:
  33. 33. Digital Tools (continued) 3. Bounce – With the Bounce App, you simply log on to their website, enter the URL of the webpage you’d like to comment on and then click on Grab Screenshot. Voila! You’ll have a screenshot of that webpage for your records. Found at: 4. AnnotateIt – AnnotateIt has a bookmarklet that allows you to add Annotator to any web page and save your annotations to AnnotateIt. Simply, drag the bookmarklet icon to your bookmarks bar and then sign up for an account. Found