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How I Do It: Note taking 101


I take a lot of notes... a lot! Sometimes I am lazy and indiscriminately jot down key points on a sheet of paper while I read. But then the time comes when I need those notes and instead of saving me time, my notes are like a code I have to crack. When I don't spend the time taking good notes, I usually end up having to re-read and take new notes (while kicking myself for not doing it right the first time).

Over the years I have realized the value of taking the time to take good notes the first time. What are good notes you ask? Well, I believe a good set of notes does not (like highlighting) record everything. They should be strategic and allow you to engage with the key points and arguments of the book/lecture, while also critically engaging with it. They should be your "Cliff Notes."

I really like the Cornell Note Method:


Once you have divided your paper and recorded the title/topic, take notes while you read (or notes from a lecture) in section 3. Remember to be selective in the points you choose and skip a line between each point. 

As you read you may have a question or concern about one of the points the author/lecturer is making. Be sure to record these questions to the left of the corresponding notes in section 2.

This is the step most people skip - review. After you have recorded the information in section 3, you need to review (this is especially important for in-class notes, often notes taken in a hurry won't make sense a week later). At this stage, I like to select a new color (or two) and rewrite the main ideas/arguments either in section 3 or section 2 (your choice). You can also underline, highlight, or even draw illustrations.

Finally in section 4, write a summary of all the material, including your critical questions and considering the following: What’s the significance of this information? Is this material based on certain theories or principles? Does it relate to other materials I have read/covered in the course? How can I apply this information? How does it fit in with what I already know? 

Of course you have to review your notes more than just the night before a test/paper writing.

Here is a basic template, but it isn't very stylish. Who says good notes can't be cute notes? So here are some fun note-taking templates! Just click, save, and print on a regular sheet of computer paper.




Happy Note Taking!



QuickEdit
Ashley B
10 Comments
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10 comments:

  1. Love this post, I am such a neurotic note taker, I have been meaning to try the cornell method of note taking!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so glad I don't take notes frequently anymore, but this is a great how to post!

    agirlandhersparkles.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is great note taking advice! I love the questions side box idea!

    Hunter
    www.preponabudget.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the templates you made, that leopard one would have made taking notes in grad school a little more fun!
    -Alex
    http://www.monstermisa.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is a great idea! Good notes make all the difference. I take way too many. My manager has even commented on it!

    www.amemoryofus.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is such a unique way of taking notes. I'm student teaching this semester and I can't wait to teach this technique to my HS students!

    Katie
    http://casually-obsessed.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have been struggling with how best to take notes for ages; this is such a great idea! And I love the templates :)

    Rachel
    www.quebecstyle.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I adore these templates. Will definitely be using this format soon! I really like having consistent notes but I have never developed a formal formula so THANK YOU

    www.wannabevarsity.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. How might I print these cute printables in regular size?

    ReplyDelete
  10. How might I print these cute printables in regular size?

    ReplyDelete

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