PAR 5 Note-taking Strategy
This method is based on the Cornell Method.
Learning from lectures involves more than just sitting in class – start the process before class and finish it after
Before the lecture
Preview: get ready and get interested
Look through chapter; skim chapter headings and summary; look over course out-line; find out what you’re going to be learning about; start thinking about the topic.
During the lecture
Actively listen and select
- Listen to the beginning—is there a plan for the lecture? If so, write it at the top of your page
- Work out how your professor shows that something is important— What does he/she say? e.g. says it’s
important/writes it on the board/ underlines it/repeats same point...
- Keep your preview in mind as you listen—maybe the same points emphasized in the chapter are going to be important here
Record: divide page; use right hand column (see over-page)
- Don’t try to write everything down—be selective; focus on the important ideas
- Leave room to add more details later
- Try to write down key words and concepts rather than sentences
- Abbreviate in a way you’ll understand later
- Also note to yourself what was happening—e.g. here prof. gave an example, digressed to answer a question, etc.
- If you forget an idea before you finish writing it down, show that you did this
i.e. the concepts in cell division were?
After the lecture
Revise: within 24 hours of the lecture
- Read over your notes
- Fix unclear points; use your textbook or compare notes with a friend to fill in gaps or places where you got lost
Reduce: use the left hand column to label the ideas in the lecture
- Use labels to summarize the points of the lecture
- Try to think like your prof—why did he/she include this point? Why give these three examples? What major points was she/he trying to make?
- Get a sense of how the lecture was organized
- Categorize ideas into main themes
Recite: talk your way through the lecture points
- Read the labels but cover up the right hand side—see if you can recall what was there
- Talk your way through and elaborate on points
- Try to “teach” ideas out loud or do example problems
- Check that you understand—make a plan to follow up on anything you don’t (ask prof next class, ask a friend, etc.)
Review: remember that reviewing leads to retention!
- Create graphic organizers such as maps or matrices to organize and learn the concepts from the lecture
- Test yourself on the ideas from time to time