- Date your notes. Use a pen, not a pencil.
- Keep all your notes in one place - a large notebook divided into sections by subject is a great place to consolidate your notes, and will make it easier to cross-reference them.
- Listen for "signals" that will tell you if what the speaker says is important. Phrases like, "The most important point is...", or "Remember that..." or "It's essential to realize that...", etc. are all indications that what the speaker is about to say is important, and should be written down. Things that are repeated or put on the board are usually important.
- Don't copy everything the speaker says. The average speaker speaks at a rate of 125-140 minutes, but the average note taker writes about 25 words per minute! Listen to what the speaker says, then analyze it, judge it, compare it to what you already know. Only then summarize what he/she said in your own words.
- After the lecture, write your own summary of the most important points of the class. Put key words and phrases in your own words, using the language of the subject if possible. Use different colors. Make each page look different. Star or highlight the most important points. Write questions you still have about the material.
- Once you have summarized the class in your own words, review the notes you took. Try to summarize the class using your notes from above. If you have trouble, go back to your class notes and review. Review often.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Note taking skills - Improve your TOEFL score!
Note taking is an important part of college life. The better your notes are, the better you will understand the subject presented. The TOEFL iBT exam stresses this importance. On the TOEFL exam, better notes could mean a better score, since you will be more organized and prepared for the speaking and writing sections. Here are some basic techniques for note taking: