Strategies for Taking Notes and For Learning Content

Strategies for Taking Notes and For Learning Content

 In study skills, there are strategic approaches used for learning and retention in the knowledge acquired. The study skills entirely focus on the process used in information taking, ways of information organizing, retaining information, and assessing whether the information is relevant. Some of the common skills required include reading, effective listening, note taking, retaining of information, and concentrating among others. This essay will focus on learning content and note taking strategies required in study skill concept.


Note taking is an aspect of rapid transcription where an individual uses condensed techniques in recording information. It is the use of symbols to represent words and shortening long words by way of creating external memory that later helps develop an argument from the learned content. Note taking focus on taking learned materials in a short form that will help the learner develop an understanding during reflection process. When taking notes, an individual should ensure that notes taken are clear to understand, and they should also be relevant towards the target aspect. Notes that are not clear and cannot be understood have a little relevance. Taking of notes is of importance to people in a different way. Some of the reasons why people take note include testing whether the person understands the content and helping the person listen to the situation, (Blerkom, 2011).

Apart from the above reasons, an individual may take notes for future use or review in order to have an understanding of the content. Note taking is essential simply because it helps develop easier content to remember as compared to the source. The process of note taking helps an individual remember the content of learned materials. Note taking is just like a summary of a lesson or the material learned hence it compresses a lot of ideas in a summary form. The essential aspect in taking notes is to understand what counts to note taking in the learning process. What notes am I supposed to take? This is the first question an individual should understand and evaluate before the learning process, (Kizlik, 2012).

Writing the entire content taught may be difficult simply because it is a lot and may take a lot of time to complete. Some of the content taught may be irrelevant towards the expected thus an individual should understand what requires attention during note taking in the learning process. It is necessary to understand the key pointers in the learning process in order to put down relevant information for future use. Pointers in the learning process helps determine the key concepts in a given learning process had prepared for the audience. Although not always, repetition of a given concept may translate that the information is crucial and requires attention to the target group. An individual who knows about noting may easily understand pointers in a given situation. In order to note where emphasis lies, one should judge tutors gestures and the voice. Another thing is the amount of time spends on a given point. Signal words such as “firstly, next….and in conclusion…” may help in pointing out the main points for note taking, (Blerkom, 2011).

Recommendations for note taking

The general concept of note taking differs from one person to another and from one learning process to another. Below are some of the recommendations for a general note taking:

  1. Notes should be brief though necessary abbreviations and symbols where necessary. Consistency in the use of abbreviations and symbols should be maintained during note taking.
  2. Where necessary, phrases should represent sentences and words should represent the phrase in the process of note taking. An individual should focus on key words that contribute and connects meaning to the content.
  3. Larger portion of notes should come from the individual’s own words but must have the original meaning. Definitions, formulas, and specific facts should remain as the original.
  4. The use of outline or a specific system makes the distinction between minor and main points.
  5. Make use of Spaces to indicate missed information for later clarification.
  6. At the end of note taking coordination of learning material and notes is vital. It helps fill information that omitted during note taking.

  7. Make use of numbing and dating system to distinguish various sessions of note taking.
  8. Select necessary words and not every word in the learning process. Attentiveness is required in note taking in order to select words that carry information that is useful and record appropriately.
  9. Make use of correct words that do not alter the meaning of the content. Although own words should be used in note taking, an individual should focus on the main points. Direct quotations and any other recording should be made in accordance.
  10. Clear mind is necessary in order to help the writer take notes that are relevant towards the content learned. The mind should consciously help the writer grasp notes that are of value for future use.
  11. Enough space when taking notes should be left so as to provide space for any additional information that the writer may get from other relevant sources.
  12. Although descriptions and explanations should be omitted the writer should always take clear notes, and that are to the point. Consideration should apply when taking notes because it develops conciseness.
  13. Make use of right materials when taking notes and avoid materials that are not appropriate.
  14. Review notes taken to make changes, add information, or correct misspelled content during note taking.
  15. Save note taking time by initially taking the correct notes instead of planning to rewrite them because this is taking extra time on the same thing.

The writer should concentrate during the learning process and manage to listen to the core content of the lecture. It is impossible to develop key notes if the writer does not listen. One should develop questions in order to have the right content of the learning process. To get note taking skills the writer should engage in necessary aspects simply because skills in this situation are not easily acquired and requires a lot of concentration. Practice on note taking is necessary simply because skills of note taking comes gradually and requires review in order to keep the process updated. Notes should also be reviewed and update in order to ensure memory used provides relevant information, (Kizlik, 2012).Finally, after taking notes, ensure that they have been used in the appropriate way. To sharpen study skills, an individual should apply the following step. The first step should be to develop a survey on where one heads, then develop questions to discover the unknown, read new materials, recite and review the content learned, (Blerkom, 2011).


Blerkom, V. L.D. (2011). College Study Skills: Becoming a Strategic Learner, 7th edition, Cengage Learning

Kizlik, B. (2012) Effective Study Skills. Retrieved from,, On November 14, 2012.

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