Female student walking through libraryThe skills4studycampus module can help you develop your reading and note-making skills.

Topics include: -

  • Reading effectively
  • Making notes while reading
  • Making notes during lectures

If you are new to intensive reading and note-making in a lecture environment, visit this module early in your studies.

Some note-taking tips

  1. Be clear in your own mind why you are going to read and take notes.
  2. Identify and select readings for a particular purpose and draw up a list of questions that you want to answer from the reading.
  3. Don’t start at page 1 and read steadily to the end.  Instead, skim and scan the material, looking at headings and sub-headings, images and diagrams, to get a general sense of the reading and to pick out the key issues and facts.
  4. Make use of indexes, introductions, abstracts, summaries and conclusions in textbooks and articles.
  5. Develop a note-taking technique that works for you.  Be prepared to change your method if the notes you create are not clear.
  6. Mind maps are an alternative way of taking notes, and work well for students who like to think in pictures.
  7. You may prefer to use one technique for taking notes in lectures, and another for taking notes from material you have read.
  8. After you have taken down notes, review them.  Fill in any gaps or write questions that you still need to answer.
  9. Listen for key points in lectures and note any emphasis or comment that the Lecturer gives you: e.g. ”there are five main points…”,”in summary…”
  10. Prepare for lectures (perhaps the night before?) so that you are familiar with the terms and vocabulary associated with the subject.  This will make it easier to understand how to take down the notes.
  11. Review your notes after lectures.  Add to them,  where appropriate (perhaps using a different ink colour?).
  12. Create your own glossary of terms and abbreviations and write down (or store electronically, perhaps using Endnote or Endnote Online?) any useful references from your reading for future use.