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RYERSON UNIVERSITY LEARNING SUPPORT SERVICES

Taking Effective Notes from Lectures To take good notes, you need good listening skills. You will find information on listening skills in the separate handout Getting the Most from Lectures Through Active Listening. This handout explains strategies for recording what you listen to. By taking notes, you will stay focussed on the lecture and will thereby learn and retain the material more effectively. As well, reviewing notes regularly will help you prepare for exams. Be prepared for notetaking. Early in the term, go over the entire course outline to get the big picture for the course. Knowing the course objectives, the main topics, the grading criteria, and the types of assignments and quizzes/exams will give you an idea of what to focus on in each lecture. In particular, if you know how you will be tested, you will know how detailed your notes should be. For multiple choice exams, take notes on details such as names, dates, definitions of terms, and specific examples. For essay exams, take notes on more general ideas such as key concepts and the relationships between them. determine whether the professor bases course content more on the textbook or the lectures. If lectures are more important, you will have to record more information from them. exchange phone numbers with someone in the class who is willing to act as a note buddy. Agree that you will share notes if either of you misses a class or misses taking down important information during a class. Before the lecture, look at the course outline to determine the topic, review notes from previous classes, and complete any assigned readings. That way you can anticipate what the lecture will cover and connect the new material from the lecture to what you have learned from these other sources. Take notes during class. Write on only one side of the page. Leave a wide left margin and space at the bottom of each page so that later you can write questions and summaries. Dont write down the lecture verbatim. Use point form to record main ideas and important details in your own words. Also record questions the prof asks the class and students responses, as well as the profs reponses to students questions. Use abbreviations such as e.g. (for example,) & (and), def. (definition), # (number), % (per cent), < (less than), > (greater than).

Use outline form. For example, you could write headings in capital letters. Then write important points directly under the heading and indent less important points. You can also number points in sequence. THREE USES OF ADVERBS 1. to describe verbs Frank walked quickly out of the room. 2. to describe adjectives Stephanie is a highly skilled carpenter. 3. to describe other adverbs The man turned around very slowly. Include examples, as above, because they help you see how a theory or concept is applied. Try the best you can to take notes from overheads or other audiovisual materials. Later, ask your note buddy to help you fill in any gaps. If you dont hear what the prof says, ask him or her to repeat it. Ask questions if there is anything you dont understand. Leave space between notes if you miss key information so that you can add it later. After class, review your notes and test your understanding. Review lecture notes as soon as possible after class, at least within 24 hours. Fill in missing information by referring to the text or plan to ask your note buddy or the prof during office hours or in the next class. As well, collate lecture notes with notes from the textbook and other sources so that all material on the topic is together. For each section of notes, create a question that sums up the main point. For instance, for the first part of this handout, you could create the question, How can I prepare for notetaking early in the term? Write the questions in the left margin. Then cover the notes and recite out loud the information that answers each question. Check your answer; if youre wrong; recite the correct information again until you know the material. Summarize notes by writing a summary paragraph at the bottom of each page. Then write a more condensed summary at the end of the notes for each lecture. Summarizing helps you understand the information more fully. Review and recite your notes as often as you can to prepare for the exam.