- Come prepared to take notes. Bring…
- paper or a notebook (preferably bound, 8.5-by-11-inch),
- pen (with dark, permanent ink).
- Leave space for second thoughts.
- Attend to…
- why you are taking notes,
- vocabulary, new or hard words.
- Capture the teacher’s or author’s order if listening or reading.
- Note how subpoints (in text, or subactivities in lab) relate to main points:
- Scout the text for clues (heads, charts, summaries) before you read for details.
|Get to the heart of the matter…keep important details but trim away trivia:
- Date your notes (every page).
- Capture key claims, activities, results:
- Use full sentences if you can.
- Use verb phrases at least.
- Also capture your own “intellectual context” for item 2:
- Problems, setbacks, pitfalls.
- Alternatives (tried or yet to try).
- Influences on your work, references.
- Record and credit quotes carefully (no plagiarism).
- Insert your own questions.
- Reread the hard parts (and revisit your own draft notes) after your first pass and apply these techniques again.
|Make the format of your notes helpful (for later review and reuse).
- Use revealing topic heads and subheads.
- Cluster related items into (numbered) lists or clear data tables (with explicit units).
- Sketch simple diagrams to show:
- physical features.
- Add usable cross references:
- to other notes (by date),
- to books, articles, or web sites.
- Try some version of the two-column “Cornell system” (notes in a big right column, heads and comments in a smaller left column).