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Note-taking 101: How to Record The Key Points of a Lecture

By Karen Vata
  |  
  1 Min Read
Student Note Taking Tips

Taking smarter notes is important for good grades.

The ability to take good notes is a critical skill. Debra, a Carleton University student, would furiously record and write every word her professors spoke; yet her roommate continued to see higher grades by listening more and writing less.

That’s because Debra took more notes, while her roommate took smarter ones.

So how do you take smart-notes?

  • Listen and jot short summary notes that can be added to after class.
  • Develop a personal shorthand by dropping the writing of certain letters of words, using acronyms, and letting go of personal spelling and penmanship expectations.
  • Learn your professor’s verbal and non-verbal cues to identify where they may use an enthusiastic tone to highlight what points are important or may appear on an exam.
  • Understand the type of tests for the course and note accordingly. Personal tangents or theoretical opinions are difficult to use in multiple choice exams.
  • Repetition and paraphrasing is a signpost for your attention. If you’ve heard it before, it’s probably important.
  • Consider using graph paper to organize thoughts easily, noting main points and sub-points in different sections. If you prefer, use a mind mapping technique of a central main point circle and surrounding circles for supporting evidence.
  • Rewrite your notes into an organized summary that can be re-read until it is understood without referring to it. Read the notes!

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