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How do I take notes?

Firstly - why you should take notes

• Record what you are learning
• Recall and understand at a later date
• Make connections between different texts.
• Be active (actually do it) … you will remember more this way
• Keep track of your references!!
• Read this overview from University of Reading

Now -  how do you do it?

• Think about what you need out of your reading before you start
• Set your notes in context by relating to what you already know, been asked to discuss or heard about in lectures
• Be critical of what you are reading as you progress.
• Use strategies for effective reading to start 
• Note down the core arguments
• Work out which notetaking style suits you best (see below).
• Review your notes regularly
• Look at this Top Tips diagram for ideas 
• Consider using an e-version to record notes eg Notes Plus for iPad - watch this you tube video:
• Share and compare notes with a friend


• Try out one of these 4 styles (linear, tables, flowcharts and mindmaps) nicely outlined on Napier University’s website
• Mindmaps – a short video about mindmapping for note taking 
• Use a template, for example the Cornell template


• Use keywords, capitals, underlining, subtitles, coloured/highlighter pens
• Use Abbreviations eg as listed by Bradford University
• Use your own words to describe what you are reading. Avoid copying out great chunks of text
• Develop your own shorthand
• Do it in short bursts. Give it time to sink in.


• Try out the activities on page 5 of this online tutorial from Exeter 

An excellent interactive online tutorial, Reading skills has been developed by Leeds University and takes around 60 minutes to work through.