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Study Skills: Note Taking

Use this guide to learn ways to study and learn more efficiently and effectively.

note taking methods

The Cornell Notes Method

Have you heard of Cornell Notes?  It's a system of note-taking developed by Cornell University professor Walter Pauk. 

Essentially, you will divide your sheet of paper into sections, that look like this:


Currently, Cornell University has a whole module that walks you through this effective method.  Work though the steps yourself here! 

Check out these videos to learn how to use the Cornell Notes method.  They're an excellent way to be engaged with instruction in the classroom or with material you're reading on your own.  



The Outline Method of Note-Taking

The outline method is a pretty straight-forward method of note taking in class.  Check out the video below for a good idea of how this works.

You may also choose to use this method just to review for a test or quiz.  


The Mind Mapping Method of Note-Taking

To do a mind-mapping method of note-taking, you're using a visual method, which may be great for some learners.

You can also find templates to use on a website like Canva to help you.  See the video below for an example of how this works.

Typically, students do this after class to organize notes or show how information is connected.  Students don't usually do mind map notes during class.


Ebooks on note-taking

The Art of Visual Notetaking

Improve your bullet journals, to-do lists, class notes, and everything in between with The Art of Visual Notetaking and its unique approach to taking notes in the twenty-first century. Visual notetaking is the perfect skill for journaling, class lectures, conferences, and any other time that retaining information is key. Also referred to as sketchnoting, visual notetaking is ideal for documenting processes, planning projects, outlining ideas, and capturing information.

Note-Taking Made Easy

Updated and revised edition As every student quickly learns, merely sitting through a class and paying attention is usually not sufficient to ensure good grades. The proper taking of good notes is essential. Note-Taking Made Easy tells why the student should take his or her own notes (rather than buying them or taping lectures), and tells exactly how to determine what is worth noting, whether during a lecture, classroom discussion, even from a book or during a meeting. The authors describe the two most successful methods of organizing notes—outlining and patterning—and provide shortcuts to really make note-taking easy, from shorthand devices to abbreviations. Special sections are devoted to taking notes from texts, fiction as well as nonfiction, and handling charts, graphs, and photos. A final chapter shows how to tie together notes from various sources. This STUDY SMART reference guide series, designed for students from junior high school through lifelong learning programs, teaches skills for research and note-taking, presents strategies for test-taking and studying, provides exercises to improve spelling, grammar, and vocabulary, and reveals secrets for putting these skills together in great essays.

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