New South Wales Board of Studies | Charles Sturt University Website |
Britannica On line
| Google Search |



Note making is the technique of condensing blocks of text into smaller chunks. An outcome of this exercise is that you can examine text more carefully and are more able to manipulate text while retaining the original meaning. You will find it easier to make notes in future.

Here is an exercise that works well in Years 7 and 8.

•  Label paragraphs in the textbook with a number (e.g. Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)

•  Do not choose more than 5 paragraphs

•  Condense each paragraph to 10 words or less

•  Start by identifying the key words or dates in the paragraph

Write a proper sentence or sentences (no bullet points)

•  Do not think of this as an exercise in merely rearranging the words. To condense these paragraphs you must come up with new words and phrases

•  At the end of the exercise, revise the sentences you have come up with

• i. What were the key words or dates ?

• ii. What choices did you have to make ?

• iii. How can you reduce the number of words without ruining the meaning ?


(From Retroactive 1, p116-117)

Shi Huangdi: Ruler of the First Chinese Empire

Paragraph 1

Shi Huangdi was the first to rule a united empire and, apart from periods of disunity, this system of imperial rule lasted from 221BC to AD 1911. Shi Huangdi had built the foundation for a very long-lasting system of civilisation

The key words could be:


United empire

221BC to AD 1911



System of civilisation

  To condense this into 10 words would require decisions like this:

‘He' instead of Shi Huangdi (which should already be in the note book as a heading)

Deciding whether 221BC is more important than AD 1911

The final version could be:

He created a united and long-lasting empire in 221BC (10 Words)

As a final exercise take the notes you have made and, without referring to the original text again, rewrite them into a paragraph. When you have finished, compare your paragraph with the original text. Alter as necessary if you think it does not convey enough sense.

Top | Return to Writing Skills Main Page