A System For Effective Listening and Note-Taking
You can think about 4
TIMES FASTER than a lecturer can speak. Effective LISTENING requires the
expenditure of energy; to compensate for the rate of presentation, you have to
actively intend to listen. NOTE-TAKING is one way to enhance listening, and
using a systematic approach to the taking and reviewing of your notes can add
immeasurably to your understanding and remembering the content of lectures.
Develop a mind-set geared toward listening.
Test yourself over the previous lecture while
waiting for the next one to begin.
Skim relevant reading assignments to acquaint
yourself with main ideas, new technical terms, etc.
Enhance your physical and mental alertness: eat a
snack before class, sit in the front and/or center of the room, focus your
attention on the speaker.
Choose notebooks that will enhance your
systematic note-taking: a separate notebook with full-sized pages is
recommended for each course. You might wish to mark off the pages into one
of the formats shown on the reverse of this sheet.
INTEND TO LISTEN.
Listen for the structure and information in the
Resist distractions, emotional reactions or
Pay attention to the speaker for verbal,
postural, and visual clues to what's important.
Label important points and organizational clues:
main points, examples.
If your lecturer has an accent you find hard to
understand or has mannerisms you find distracting, relax and attend even
more carefully to the content of the lecture.
When possible, translate the lecture into your
own words, but if you can't, don't let it worry you into inattention!
Be consistent in your use of form, abbreviation,
If you feel you don't take enough notes, divide
your page into 5 sections and try to fill each part every 10 minutes (or
work out your own formula).
Ask questions if you don't understand.
Instead of closing your notebook early and
getting ready to leave, listen carefully to information given toward the end
of class; summary statements may be of particular value in highlight main
points; there may be possible quiz questions, etc.
Clear up any questions raised from the lecture by
asking either the teacher or classmates.
Fill in missing points or misunderstood terms
from text or other sources.
Edit your notes, label main points, add recall
clues and questions to be answered. Key points in the notes can be
highlighted with different colors of ink.
Make note of your ideas and reflections, keeping
them separate from those of the speaker.
Review your notes: glance at your recall clues
and see how much you can remember before rereading the notes.
Look for the emergence of themes, main concepts,
methods of presentation over the course of several lectures.
Make up and answer possible test questions.
From Pauk, Walter, "How to Study
Back to Academic