The secret to taking personalized and practical notes is comprised in three words, according to most authors of pedagogic literature: listen, think, and write.
- Being able to listen implies a selective attitude towards the contents included in the exposition. You must pay much attention to phrases like “in conclusion”, “to sum up”, “in other words”, etc., which show the teacher’s intention to synthetize and clarify the most important ideas.
Also, you have to pay attention to the beginning, as well as to the end of the explanation, because the summary of a topic, with which any discourse usually starts, is always helpful for the comprehension, as it offers a valuable panoramic view or general idea over the subject. The summary that generally appears at the end of the discourse is of equal interest , as it can be even more detailed and complete, because in it, the teacher gathers the most profound and interesting ideas out of everything he said.
- Being able to think means to listen in a reflective way, visualizing and following mentally the expository order of the teacher: the title of the topic or subject, the aspects from which the topic is approached, what is the thesis that needs to be demonstrated, steps or milestones in the achievement of the proposed objective, final conclusions, and consequences we reach by studying the profoundness of the topic.
While listening in this thoughtful way, it is important not to lose the thread, and follow the subject. For this, you must make the connection between a sequence and another inside the same subject.
- Being able to write, not what the teacher says, word by word, but using your own words. When taking notes, it is important to be quick and concise. Therefore, you must use abbreviations, as well as a personal code that you can interpret easily, and that will allow you to write the minimum necessary for a good subsequent understanding. Thus, you must elaborate a personal system.
Finally, it is a good idea to leave a blank space between one idea and the next one, so that you can later fill in some further details or forgotten information.