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Note taking is a very different skill from note making
Note taking relies on effective listening


Effective listening is a skill just like effective reading. You spend so much of your time passively sitting listening to the teacher whether as explanation, demonstrations or class discussions and there is a temptation to sit back and let the words go past you. Several steps will help you get more out of your class and lecture time.

1 - Prepare yourself for the talk. It would be most unusual for you to go to a class without having some idea of the topic to be studied. Most teachers forewarn their students about the topics they are to study. Use this knowledge.

2. Prepare yourself by thinking about the topic before the class begins. This way you will be "on task" from the very beginning.

3. Listen with your full attention. Listen actively. be involved in what is being said. Think about how what you are hearing relates to what you already know.

4. Think about what you have heard and make brief notes. You cannot write everything down. Listen carefully and write down only the major points to act as reminders

5. Do no hesitate to ask the speaker questiions. You would be surprised to know how important this is both for you and the teacher. For you, it allows you to focus on what is being talked about and to clear up any misundersandings. For the teacher, it allows them to realise that someone in the audience is actually actively listening and it may make them think about what they have left out if you are unclear about something.


Follow these steps for effective note taking

1. Listen carefully to the speaker

2. Ask yourself what question is being answered. The speaker normally introduces the talk by giving a brief outline of the topic

3. Note the main ideas

4. Revise the notes as soon as you have an opportunity. Make sure that they make sense. Expand on them from your memory

5. Set the notes out well the first time and they will be right for as long as you need them

6. Write in point form only

7. Write on one side of loose leaf paper only. This allows the other side to be used for additional notes and summaries

8. Use abbreviations to speed your writing

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