Text book note taking

Writing summaries from text book material is covered elsewhere in this page.

There are at least four reasons for taking notes on text book material. It reinforces learning of the information. It encourages selection of the main ideas and details in order to visualize the overall organization of the text. It creates a shortened version of the text with all the essential information recorded for future exam review. It helps to improve concentration.

Five of the most important tips for textbook note taking are listed below.

  • Finish reading before taking notes.

    • Students should not read the entire chapter, but should read through long paragraphs or headed sections of text before recording notes. If one waits until the end to write notes, he/she may forget some of the important ideas and supporting details. But by reading small sections at a time, one has enough information from which to choose the most important ideas, without losing track of the flow of ideas. The most important concepts are reinforced before the reader moves on to the next section, making learning a cumulative process.

  • Be very selective about what is recorded.

    • It takes practice to learn how to select the most important ideas in a reading, but remember that the goal of note taking is to produce a shortened version of the text. Be selective so that only the basic concepts are recorded. In order to decide what information should be noted, skim or preview the text first or see what the instructor has emphasized in the lecture. Basically, just revise best essay writing service reviews here.


  • Use your own words.

    • Because the chances of comprehending and remembering information are greatly improved when the work is one's own, take the extra time to paraphrase important material. The time spent trying to understand a passage and record the main ideas in one's own words is the single most important investment of time a reader can make.

  • Work quickly and efficiently.

    • Note taking does not have to be painful or time consuming. Read, think, write, and move on. The rewards will come at test time.

  • Use organizational strategies.

Notes should be organized according to one of the strategies. The Cornell method is a good choice because it allows one to organize and to recall actively and quickly the main points of the text.

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Although note taking for text books is discussed at length in the Note takingpage, some of the main ideas are summarized here.
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