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What to note

There is obviously no one sure-fire way of taking good notes. It is important, though, as with reading, to understand your objectives. Having a clear purpose for taking notes will help you to take the appropriate action.

Click on the highlighted text from the list below to view a possible reading and notetaking strategy.

  • Reading to develop a point of view
  • Reading a text book
  • Reading for an essay

Write comments and questions in margins (if it's your own copy).

Take some notes, preferably in your own words, especially for technical and other specialised language you will need to retain.

Write out quotations. Think how this material fits in with what you know already.

Work out how neatly the text book fits in with your course. Identify and note down the main areas, including only the detail that is absolutely necessary.

Say aloud what you have learnt from the text. If there are any important gaps in your recall go back and fill them in.

Devise questions, either orally or in writing, which you would like answered by the text. Write down the relevant material, where possible in your own words, adding in your own comments where appropriate.

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