The following resources provide tips on how to recall more information from your lectures through active listening and purposeful notetaking. In addition, lecture notes can be a critical tool for preparing for exams. The key is to develop a system that enables you to :
a) review regularly
b) recite (repeating key concepts from class)
c) reflect (connecting class ideas to other notes and readings)
- Note Taking (various methods) (PDF)
- Taking Lecture Notes (PDF)
- The Cornell Method of Taking Notes (PDF)
- Cornell Note-Taking Paper (link to website)
- Listen Actively and Take Great Notes – Princeton University
- It All Starts with Listening – University of Pennsylvania
- Learning From Lectures – University of Guelph
- Class Participation: Making Contributions that Count – Princeton University
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.
- Use abbreviations.
- Box assignments 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 if necessary.
- 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.
Types of study skills
- Methods based on memorization such as rehearsal and rote learning
- Methods based on communication skills e.g. reading and listening
- Methods based on cues e.g. flashcard training
- Methods based on condensing information, summarising and the use of keywords
- Methods based on visual imagery Diagrams
- Methods based on acronyms and mnemonics
- Methods based on exam strategies
- Methods based on time management, organization and lifestyle changes