When to Take Notes
To become a better note-taker, you must know when to take notes and when not to take notes. The instructor will give cues that indicate what material is important. Some such cues include:
presenting usual facts or ideas
writing on the board
enumerating; such as, "1, 2, 3" or "A, B, C"
working several examples of the same type of problem on the black-board
making statements such as, "This is a tricky problem. Most students will miss it. The answer is 'undefined' instead of 'zero'."
saying, "This is the most difficult step in the problem."
indicating that certain types of problems will be on the test, such as coin or age word problems
explaining bold-print words
You must learn the cues your instructor gives indicating important material. If you are in doubt about the importance of the class material, do not hesitate to ask the instructor about its importance.
While taking notes, you may become confused about math material. At that point, take as many notes as possible, and do not give up on note-taking.
As you take notes on confusing problem steps, skip lines; then go back and fill in information that clarifies your misunderstanding of the steps in question. Ask your tutor or instructor for help with the uncompleted problem steps, and write down the reasons for each step in the space provided.
Another procedure to save time while taking notes is to not write complete sentences. Write your main thoughts in phrases. Phrases are easier to jot down and easier to memorize. Also, abbreviate to save time.
|Some Common Abbreviations
|marks important materials likely to be used in an exam
|shows disagreement with statement or passage
|note well, this is important
|parentheses in the margin, around a sentence or group of sentences indicates an important idea
|a circle around a word may indicate that you are not familiar with it; look it up
|used to indicate that you do not understand the material
|equals, is the same
|does not equal, is not the same
|and so forth
|implies, it follows from this
|Associative Property of Addition
|compare, remember in context
|1, 2, 3
|to indicate a series of facts
|Identity Property of Multiplication
- Paul D. Nolting, Ph.D., Winning at Math, 1997 1989 by Academic Success Press, Inc