Some Note-Taking Hints

  1. A large notebook is recommended, even if it is a bit awkward to carry.
  2. Write in ink, using large enough writing so you can read the material easily when reviewing.
  3. Develop a shorthand of your own, in addition to the familiar & and %. This can be fairly extensive, including abbreviated words: educ-1 (educational), inclg (including), inc (incomplete), comphnsv (comprehensive), and so forth (etc.).
  4. Copy blackboard diagrams and charts quite large, with distinct labels and comments attached to the parts indicated. Disorderly diagrams are confusing to recall.
  5. File unneeded notes in your room. This saves a minor disaster if you lose your notebook.
  6. Inexpensive colored pencils can be used to underline; thus you can associate similar classes of topics in your notebook: one color for each class, or for various ranks of subordinate headings. This helps greatly during a rapid review.
  7. Use only one side of the paper for the original prior outline, leaving gaps to use during lecture. (The blank back of the preceding page can be used for overflow notes in class, or for extra-large diagrams.)
  8. Take down outside references mentioned in class. You never know when you may want them to amplify a topic if it is later announced as important.
  9. If the professor speaks very rapidly, draws diagrams, and refers to charts all at once, you might team up with a classmate, agreeing to divide the note-taking in some way, and fill in from each other’s notes later.
  10. Write your notes as you would write a telegram: brief and to the point. It is not usually necessary to take down every word of a definition if you record the essentials, but some definitions are boiled down, as given, so that every single word counts.
  11. The prior outline method is actually most economical of paper (despite the space that may go unused) and it helps to be oriented before you go to class. Also enables you to ask intelligent questions if something has been left out during class, and your outline tells you it is an important heading in the textbook. Ask then and there. The professor may rule it unimportant, which is useful information, too, or he may discuss it and appreciate your reminder.

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