How to Improve Your Note-Taking Skills

  1. Take notes as if you were going to give them to a good friend.
    1. Make them legible.
    2. Make them understandable.
  2. The goal is to take the least amount of notes and get the greatest amount of information on your paper.
  3. Develop an abbreviation list:
    1. e.g. (for example)
    2. n.b. (note well, this is important)
    3. ∴ (therefore)
    4. ⊃ (implies, it follows from this)
    5. > (greater than)
    6. < (less than)
    7. = (equal, is the same)
    8. ≠ (is not equal to, is not the same)
    9. etc.
  4. When to take notes:
    1. Present usual facts or ideas
    2. Writing on the board
    3. Summarizing
    4. Pausing
    5. Repeating Statements
    6. Enumerating, such as 1, 2, 3, ... or a, b, c, ...
    7. Working several examples of the same type of problem on the chalkboard
    8. Saying "This is a tricky problem"
    9. Saying "This is the most difficult step in the problem"
    10. "This will be on the test"
    11. Explaining boldface words

Ways to improve:
Step 1. Record each problem step in the Examples section
Step 2. Record the reasons for each step in the Explanation/Rules using abbreviations, short sentences etc.
Step 3. Record key words and concepts in the left margin either during or immediately after lecture by reworking your notes.
Step 4. Cover up the Examples and Explanations/Rules sections and recite out loud the meaning of the keywords.
Step 5. Place check marks by keywords you do not know, and keep reviewing them until you do.
Step 6. Develop a math glossary for difficult to remember keywords and concepts.

Modified Three-Column Note Taking System



Explanation / Rules