Note taking in lectures: Good Notes
(last update 06/09/2009)
It is important that you develop
– a note-taking system (linear notes, patterned notes or mind maps) that works for you. You may find it helpful to use different coloured pens, pencils and highlighters, and employ underlining, numbering and indenting, so you can emphasise headings, main and secondary points and examples.
– You should use abbreviations, symbols and key words, and not write out whole sentences except for key definitions, thesis statements and quotations.
There are a number of different types of abbreviations and symbols that are invaluable for efficient note-taking. Utilise some of the common standard abbreviations, many of which are Latin based such as e.g., etc., cf., c., no., and NB. Most other abbreviations are based around the beginning and/or the final letters of a word (sometimes as superscript), usually leaving out most of the vowels. Create your own abbreviations for common words and concepts in your subject areas. Many useful symbols have also been adapted from mathematics. The important principle is that the abbreviations and symbols you use are consistent and readily understandable to you. You must be able to read back your notes easily and accurately at all times. The following is a brief and selective list of some abbreviations and symbols which you may find useful: