Technique Of The Note Taking English Language Essay

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The aim of this report is to describe the definition and technique of the note taking. It is based on information from academic books and websites

Note taking is a technique to record ideas and facts which you learn in class or from reading books to help you remember and use that information later in an efficient way. It is the most effective method which helps to remember information. It is very important because people cannot remember everything. Research Studies indicate that without rehearsal, students may forget 50 percent of what they hear in the lecture within twenty-four hours and 80 percent in just two weeks. In fact, they may forget 95 percent within one month, (D. Van Blerkom, 2003). The note taking is very useful for education and researches. Students could be improved their skills, which are listening, reading, thinking and writing, by taking note.

How to take notes

Prepare before taking notes

Before come to the class, students need to prepare themselves by reading the text assignment. The students will know about the background of the topic. It will be easier for student to understand the presentation or lecture's detail and take a good lecture note. Moreover, if students want to take note from books or any articles they have read, they should try to understand texts before write it down.

It is hard to get all information by listening and taking a good note at the same time. The students should focus on the topic and all the main points. They have to be an active listener. Moreover, taking a text note is not easy also. Students have to understand the text and know what are key words and main points. Therefore the students have to be an active listener and reader so they have a good attention to write and organize the notes in their own words.

The effective note-taking systems

There are many effective note taking systems which easy to use and helpful for writing note down such as the Cornell system, the outline method, the block method, the modified-block method, summarizing and mapping.

The Cornell note taking system, students have to divide paper page into three parts which are recall column, Area for notes and summary of key points (See appendix1). To write the key words or main topic on the recall column and write the details on the Area for notes then write the summary at the end of the paper. This system will help students to organize an idea clearly and easy to understand.

The outline method is included heading and subheading or details. This style is very clear by using bullet points and numbering(See appendix2). However, to be careful that outline note taking is cover all of the important information because students always write the outline only keywords or topics without description.

The block method is another very simple technique. It is started by heading and in the next line is for details. This system use dashes(-) or slashes (/) to separate the details(See appendix3). Students don't have to write completely sentences because the notes are shaped like a paragraph. Although they have to organize the space to label information and space to add detail later.

The modified-block method makes students concentrate only two things which are main point (headings) and details(See appendix4). The different from the block method is by doing this technique students do not have to spend a lot of time trying to think about places to label each information or detail.

Summarizing is more suitable for text note taking than lecture note taking. It is just similar to general summary. Students have to write all information or details, which they think are very important by using their own words.

Maps are visual displays of text information which is a way of organizing the main points in the text to remember by using pictures or sketches. The Mind Map is an expression of Radiant Thinking and is therefore a natural function of the human mind. The Mind Map can be applied to every aspect of life where improve learning and clearer thinking will enhance human performance, (Tony and Barry Buzan,2003 ). This is the easiest way to remember information by drawing lines which are connected all the ideas and key words (See appendix5).

Strategies to take notes

Making note is not just writing everything on the paper because it will waste time and there is chance to miss the important information. It is should be short and easy to understand. There are strategies to save time as taking note. The first is using symbols and abbreviations such as = (equals), e.g. and i.e. ('for example' and 'that is') and so on. The second is keeping them well-spaced which are easy to read and see all the individual points. The third is making notes memorable by using differences colours to highlight or underline. The last strategy is summarizing in own words which is uncomplicated words.

How to review and to edit notes

Reviewing and editing the notes is an important final step in the process. Although editing the note is help to review but after editing the students have to review it again to remember all the information. The students should edit their notes within twenty-four hours when they can remember details but the best time is immediately after the lecture. They should follow up anything that think it really important or need to find out more about, and add any questions which rose in mind. Furthermore, they should review daily, weekly or before the exam. The students can review the note by reciting which is to say it out loud. For example, to recite from the recall column or from the headings by covering the details then say it. After that check if that was all information. Another way is talking the information with friends.


Note taking is a technique to organize and to write the important information. Taking a good lecture and text note is very important because people cannot remember everything all the time. Consequently taking a good note which helps students to get all accurate information is useful. Students can take a good note by using the efficient note taking systems such as the Cornell system, the outline method, the block method, the modified-block method which are beneficial for both lecture note and text note. Moreover there are summarizing and mapping which are suitable for taking text notes. Before taking a note, students have to prepare themselves by reading about topic which teacher is going to present and being an active listener and reader to concentrate and to focus on the main points of information. When students are taking note, they can use the abbreviations and symbols to help them save time and easy to understand their own notes. The last important thing about note taking is reviewing and editing notes. This is the last process which is about rewriting, adding more details and reviewing note for memorizing. Students have to edit notes immediately after class because they will forget the information and they can review their notes daily, weekly or before an exam to help them remember the main point of the subjects and can use that information perfectly.


Appendix1: The Cornell system


Appendix2: The outline method

Appendix3: The block method

Appendix4: The modified-block method

Appendix5: Summarizing


Appendix6: Mind Map



Research Report



Ms.Panhathai Buranaprasoetkun

Student number: 1033648

Submitted to

Mr.Clive Hedley

Academic Skills

Pre-Sessional English language courses

28th April 2011