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NOTE TAKING AND NOTE MAKING
NoteTaking is a method of writing down rapidly, briefly and clearly the crucial items of a
lecture, a meeting or a paper reading. Studies show that we tend to forget a good part of a
lecture within 24 hours. Unless one has an excellent memory, one should take notes for
future references. In the current scenario when information is flooding from every quarter,
note-taking has got an added importance. Whether you are a high school student or a
university scholar or a professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful and
comprehensive notes is an important skill. Good notes save our study time as they facilitate
us review them for reuse during test preparations, assignments and meetings. While taking
notes, two major questions related to note-taking, – what to write and how to write – should
be kept in mind.
What to Write
One has to be a bit choosy at the time of taking notes. Only the most important items should
be included. Your notes need not contain everything. If you try to take elaborate notes, then
at the time of a test or term paper, you will have to go through all that extra thingsto get some
important information. Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, ‘what is new
to you?’ There is no use in writing down facts you already know. Second, ‘what is
relevant?’,that is, what information is most likely to be of use later. Focus on the points
which are directly related to your reading. The detailson which you should pay special
attention are – dates, numbers, titles, names of people and books, theories, concepts,
definitions, arguments, diagrams, speaker’s conclusion, comments of the other listeners as
well as your own interpretation, doubts or questions. Examples, idiomatic expressions and
minute details should be excluded.
How to Write
The four R’s of note taking are record, reduce, reciteand review. Use them for a holistic
approach. You mayuse either a linear or a patterned format to note down the main points, key
words and phrases. Use abbreviations wherever possible; leave out the short words such as
‘the’, ‘is’, ‘to’etc. However, remember that ‘no’ and ‘not’ are important words. Although
note taking techniques should be user specific, you may use the following guidelines for an
effective note taking:
1. Outlining: Outlining is an effective way to take notes in ahierarchical structure. You may use
alphabet, numbers, Roman numerals or bullets/dots to indicate the structure. For lectures,
however, outlining has some limitations. The speaker does not necessarily maintain connection
between ideas, consequently, there is a risk of losing the relationship between what the speaker
just said and what he/she said before.
Sample 1: Take down notes of a lecture delivered in the classroom on the topic of ‘Tense’
using the Outlining technique of Note-Taking.
Topic: Tense& Its classification
Lecture Day, Date & Time:
1. Present Tense
a) Pr. Indefinite (I played
b) Pr. Cont. (I am playing)
c) Pr. Perfect (I have played)
d) Pr. Perf. Cont. (I have been playing since/for…) – doubt in use of since/for
2. Past Tense – struct. & uses
a) Past Ind. (I played yesterday)
b) Past. Cont. (I was playing)
c) Past Perf. (I had played)
d) Past Perf. Cont. (I had been playing play since/for…) – doubt in use of since/for
3. FutureTense – struct. & uses
a) Fut. Ind. (Iwill/shall play)
b) Fut. Cont. (I will/shall be playing)
c) Fut. Perf. (I will/shall played)
d) Fut. Perf. Cont. (I will be playing play since/for…) – doubt in use of since/for
Queries of the class:
a) Use of since/for & will/shall – to be discussed in detail in the next lecture.
b) Reference book: High School English Grammar & Composition by Wren & Martin
2. Mind-Mapping: Mind-mapping may be a better option to keep track of the connections
between ideas. Write the main topic of the lecture in the centre of a blank sheet of paper. As a
new sub-topic is introduced, draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic at
the end of the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the
main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, draw a new main branch from the center
and so on. If a point is under the first heading but you are on the fourth one, you can easily draw
it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to
two different branches.
Sample 2: Take down notes of a lecture delivered in the classroom on the topic of ‘Tense’ using
the Mind-Mapping technique of Note-Taking.
Topic: Tense& Its classification
Lecture Day, Date & Time:
1. Present Tense use ofsince/for? 2. Past Tense
1a. Pr. Ind. 2a. Past Ind.
1b. Pr. Cont. 2b. Past Cont.
1c. Pr.Perf. 2c. Past Perf.
1d. Pr.Perf.Cont. 2d. Past Perf.Cont.
Book: Wren & Martin
3. Future Tense
3a. Fut. Ind. Use of will/shall?
3b. Fut. Cont.
Note: From lecture and examination point of view, both the techniques of note taking should be
discussed in the class and students should be made to practice them with relevant illustrations.
house - ⌂; female - ♀;male - ♂; increase -↑; decrease -↓;s cause: →; results: ←; less than
<; greater than - >.
Don’t forget to give the key with full forms of the abbreviations and symbols.
Give the notes a proper title to help you recall the main theme as well as the gist.
Structure your notes in a hierarchical manner by inserting headings followed by sub-
headings, supporting points and may be supporting sub-points.
Provide a proper sequencing to the points. You may use capital letters – A B C – for
headings, small letters – a b c – for sub-headings and Roman numerals – I II III – for
supporting points and so on. The arrangement may be altered or reversed as per the need
of the text.
Decimal system of sequencing is another method of arranging the points systematically.
Study illustration given as under:
The numbering 1 and 2 comes in the margin and subsequent number in decimals outside but
along the margin.
Read the follow passage carefully and make notes on it. Also supply a suitable title to it:
A robot can be defined as a mechanical gadget that performs functions normally ascribed to
human beings. Karel Capek introduced the word robot while Sir IssacAssimov coined the word
robotics which is a science of dealing with robots.
The study of robotics includes, selection of material of proper quality for the components,
design, fabrication, design of electronic circuits, computers and computer programming and its
control. The science of robots is still in developing stage and a lot of research is being pursued
for making robots more suitable for working.
Depending upon the area in which robots are to be used, robotics is a multi-dimensional field
that includes disciplines such as biology, medical science, psychology, agriculture, mining,
various branches of engineering, outer space etc. At present Robots are mainly used in industries.
These industrial robots are reprogrammable and perform a variety of jobs through programmed
Basically there are two types of robots: fixed and mobile. A fixed robot is attached to an
immovable platform. It is similar to a human being standing or sitting in a fixed position while
doing the work with hands. On the other hand, a mobile robot moves from place to place. The
mobility of a robot is due to wheels or legs or other crawling material provided to it. A mobile
robot can be given a human shape. However, the actual shape has nothing to do with real
functioning of the robot.
Title: Robot: A Human Machine
A.What is a robot?
a) Def. of a robot
i)A mech. Gadget
ii) performsfunct. ascribed to human beings.
b) Words ‘robot’ & ‘robotics’
i) robot by Karel Capek
ii) robotics by Sir IssacAssimov
B. Study of robotics
a) matl. for compo.; circuits; fabri.; design; comp. prog.
i) study in dev. stage
ii)res. – pursued for better robots
C. Uses of a robot
a) multi-dimensional uses
i) biology, medical science, psychology, agriculture, mining, various branches of
engineering, outer space
ii) At present mainly used in industries
D. Types of robots
ii) similar to a human a fixed position
i) mobility due to wheels, legs or other crawling material
ii) can be given a human shape
Summary: Robotics – A latest branch of computer programming for making electronic gadgets
do various functions. The science of robots is still in developing stage, research is on.
Key to abbreviations: Def.: definition; mech.: mechanism; funct.: functions; matl.: material;
fabri.: fabrication; prog.: pragramming; dev.: developming; res.: research; comp.: computer
A) Note Taking
1. What is note taking?
2. Write a short note on the Mind-Mapping technique of note taking.
3. Imagine yourself to be listening to a lecture on the topic of Nouns. Take notes of the
lecture using any one of the techniques of ‘Outlining’ or ‘Mind-Mapping’.
B) Note Making
1. What is note making?
2. Write a short note on the usefulness of note making.
3. Make notes on the given passage.