Note Taking and Note Making

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Note taking and Note making A Guide for Students

Dyslexia Services 2009
www.soton.ac.uk/edusupport/dyslexia

Education Support

Contents
Introduction .......................................................................................... 3 Note taking and note making ................................................................ 5 Abbreviations........................................................................................ 5 What format suits you best? .................................................................. 7 Formats for notes.................................................................................. 7 Organisation of Notes ........................................................................... 9

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Introduction

Many students find both taking and making notes difficult but students with dyslexia or dyspraxia can find their specific difficulties make this process even more difficult. Why? Some of the most common specific difficulties are:  slow speed of processing  weak working memory  slow reading speed  slow writing speed  poor spelling  organisation of written material So how do they affect your ability to take notes? What can you do to help yourself? As always with specific difficulties, you need to plan your strategies in advance! www.mindtools.com/ has numerous ideas for study techniques and strategies.

Slow speed of processing If you process information slowly, you may not be able to keep up with what a lecturer is saying. You need to prepare so you don’t get left behind.  Is there an outline on Blackboard? Print it off and read it before the lecture. Check you know the meaning of any new terminology. Highlight bits that seem unclear so you can pay particular attention during the lecture.  Prepare your papers: name of lecturer, module title, date, page number (very important this in case you drop your file in the pub and all the notes fall out!). Module: Lecturer: Date: Page:

Work with a friend so if you do miss bits, you can discuss the lecture afterwards and add bits in. Use abbreviations – see list on page 5 but also make your own, with pictures as well if that is quicker! Weak working memory If your memory is weak, you may not be able to remember the information long enough to write it all down.  Record the lecture – make sure you check with the lecturer first. The LexDis project website - www.lexdis.org - is very useful here for information about recording techniques.  Use the outline from Blackboard to highlight main points to follow up later.  Make sure you go through your notes within 24 hours and review again before the next lecture.

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Slow reading speed If you read slowly, you might not be able to read the entire handout before the lecturer starts discussing it.  Brush up on your skim reading technique  Use the sub-headings  Read the first sentence of every paragraph Slow writing speed If you write slowly, you might not be able to keep up.  Record the lecture  Use abbreviations  Use visual formats/ symbols/ pictures instead of words – see page 7 for different formats you can use  Use your laptop if your typing is faster, with or without assistive technology Poor spelling Poor spelling may mean that when you read your notes back, you cannot recognise new terminology.  Use the outline to identify unfamiliar words and have them ready to copy if necessary  Record the lecture  Use abbreviations  Work with a friend – perhaps provide carbon paper to share notes! After the lecture, check that words are spelled correctly and decide which ones need to be learned quickly. Add them to your personal dictionary for quick reference, with their definitions. Organisation of written material Poor organisation can lead to muddled notes which are not very useful later on.  Plan in whatever way suits you best. See pages 7-9 for various ways of planning and organising your notes and thoughts.  Discuss the topic with a friend to organise...
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