Great notetaking is a skill that will last a life time – check out these tips on how to do just that.
1. Get The Gist Of It
You don’t need to record what the instructor is saying word for word. Instead, you want to get the main idea so that you can look over your notes later and understand what was being discussed. If you attempt to capture each word, you will not be able to keep up with the lecture and may wind up confused.
2. Pay Attention
Lecturers often go on speaking for a long time. You may find yourself beginning to daydream, but if you aren’t focused on the speaker, you will not retain the information. The listening tips found at this site should help you: http://ctl.clayton.edu/listening.htm
3. Pick Out Important Words
Listen carefully so that you are able to pick up on the most essential pieces of information in the lecture. The instructor will often give you clues by saying “one significant piece of information” or “this was important because.” Listen for language that indicates that you need to start taking notes. As you get to know a speaker better, it will be easier to pick up on their clues.
4. Have Several Pens On Hand
Take a number of different pens to the lecture with you, and make sure that each has a different color ink. For example, blue, red and green are excellent colors that will stand out when you write with them. Change pens when the instructor begins talking about a different angle or subject. This will help you keep track of what was being discussed when you look back at your notes.
5. Abbreviate Whenever Possible
If you try and write full words and full sentences while you are taking notes, you will find it difficult to keep up. Instead, abbreviate whenever possible. Come up with your own notations for certain words. Use other popular abbreviations, like “w/” for “with.” As long as you know what you are writing, it does not matter how you put the notes down on the paper.
6. Write Continuously
Make sure you continue to take notes throughout the lecture. The information at the middle and the end is just as important as the information at the beginning. Don’t wear yourself out right away. Take notes sporadically throughout the entire lecture so that you have a good picture of what was discussed. Maintain your focus so that you are able to do this effectively.
7. Look Back At Your Notes Right Away
When the lecture is over, make sure you take a look back at your notes shortly after it is finished. If there is anything that is difficult to read, you can revise it at that time. However, if you wait, you may not remember what was said and then your notes will not be as helpful. You may also want to reorganize the information or make additions while the material is still fresh in your mind.
8. Don’t Worry About Being Proper
You are likely going to be the only person that reads your notes. Therefore, as long as you understand them, that is all that matters. As a result, spelling and grammar are not very important in this process. You simply need to make sure you are getting down the information so that you have it for later.
9. Write Neatly
It is easy to be so focused on the lecture that you don’t pay attention to the quality of your notes. While you want to write quickly, you also need to be able to read your notes later on. You may have to put some effort into this as you become tired. Choosing the right pen is a good idea and a fountain pen could be a good choice – check out the best notebooks for fountain pens.
10. Paraphrase Don’t Plagiarize
Never copy material directly from a given source. If you take information out of a source, make sure it is in quotation marks and is properly cited. If you do not do this, you may forget where you got the information from. You may even become confused about what you wrote and what you didn’t. This can be a problem if you are typing up an assignment for a class. When in doubt, paraphrase material and put it into your own words.