Taking notes: practice yourself!

Taking notes

Taking notes from lectures and from your reading is a very important academic skill that you will need to practise if you are going to get good at it. On Academic English courses your teachers will give you a lot of practice in this skill in the classroom by making you listen to lectures and then asking you to take notes. Probably your teacher will discuss some techniques about how you might take notes in a lecture – for example using abbreviations and symbols for common words and phrases – and probably you will like some of these ideas and there will be some ideas that you think are stupid. The most important thing is that you understand the importance of note-taking skills and that you find a system that suits you.

I’ve been taking another look at the Open University website and I keep finding parts of it that I haven’t seen before! If you create an account (it’s free!) then you can access some very high quality learning resources. They have some excellent material on study skills and I’ve been watching and listening to videos of students talking about taking notes. The interesting thing here is the variety of approaches that different people use for note-taking. If you access these online materials you will practise your listening skills as you listen to the students talking about note-taking and you will also be exposed to lots of ideas about taking notes. You can access the materials here.

If you are a thoughtful student you will quickly realise that note-taking is one of those skills that you can practise easily on your own because there are so many listening activities and reading activities on the internet. For example this list of online lectures from Imperial College London would be a good place to visit and practise the skills you’ve been thinking about with the previous link.