Taking Notes: Taking Notes in a Lecture
In many of your classes, your instructor lectures on or makes a presentation about a topic, usually one that’s related to the current subject you’re studying. Your responsibility as a student in that class is to take notes so that you can remember the key points your instructor makes. The following sections share the wrong (and often most common way) to take notes, and then help you discover the right ways.
The Wrong Way to Take Notes
When taking notes, many students try methods that seem to make sense but in reality don’t work well. For example, you may try to write down everything the instructor says, but you’ll most likely find that you can’t keep up. And even if you could keep up, this method doesn’t work well because you’re functioning simply as a recorder; you aren’t really listening to the information and making connections about the information and the subject at hand.
You may also try tape-recording a lecture, and while this ensures you have a record of everything that is spoken, a recording doesn’t take into account any visuals (maps, diagrams, charts, and so on) the instructor may use in the lecture. Also, when you go back to study, you probably won’t have time to listen to each and every lecture all over again, which makes the recording less than useful. Finally, when you’re recording, you’re not actively engaging in thinking about the material. So strike that method.
The Right Way to Take Notes
What’s the best way, then, to take notes? The best method is taking notes on paper or in a notebook. This section provides some suggestions using this method for lecture notes. In the “Taking Notes on Reading Assignments” section later in the chapter, you can find out how useful it is to also take notes on your reading assignments.
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