Note-taking is a skill that we employ in many aspects of our lives, including language classes and the workplace. Many people, however, may recognize that they have not entirely polished the skills required to get the most out of their note-taking, so here are six pointers on how to be a more efficient and effective note-taker. These can be used to take notes from a written text, a verbal presentation, a podcast, or even a movie.
1. Don’t jot down every single phrase.
The purpose of taking notes is to summarise knowledge in a different, shorter format for later use. As a result, if you try to transcribe every word of a class or book, you will quickly fall behind and lose track of what is being said.
2. Determine what is most important.
Listen for crucial phrases like ‘an essential factor is…,’ which acts as a giant signpost alerting you that important information is about to be presented and instructing you to get your pen ready to take notes. The language trainer you are working with will have their distinct style and words that you should be aware of, so get to know them.
3. Be a good listener and reader.
It’s easy to get distracted and lose track of a class or essential grammar rule, so use some of these strategies to help you stay focused. Some language learning platforms allow you to review a past lesson; ask your trainer about that possibility.
4. Make use of drawings and symbols
You won’t have time to write whole sentences when taking notes, and sometimes the material will be so thick and rapid that you won’t be able to type complete words. Create your own set of abbreviations and symbols. ⇐ for past tense and ⇒ for future tense are two prominent examples. Organizing your new words by themes is another effective note-taking tool.
5. As quickly as possible, go over your notes again.
Take your notes, but don’t just file them away and forget about them. The easiest way to make the most of your messages is to go back over them after a short period and possibly rewrite them, more clearly or in a different order, depending on how or why you want to utilize them. This will allow you to employ the information actively, and it will stay in your memory for a longer time.
6. Maintain a level of consistency
If you’re listening and participating in an hour-long class, take screenshots of the whiteboards and rewrite them in your notebook after class. Make sure you maintain a regular pace and keep your language course notebook as up-to-date as possible. It’s easy to get behind and then get discouraged or, even worse, not remember the main point of a class.