Notetaking Skills

How Do You Take Notes?

a. It's a good idea to write in your books; I promise this will make your life easier when you are looking for ideas for your essays and passages to quote.

b. What do you mark?

i. passages you find interesting

ii. passages the cause you to ask questions

iii. passages you don't understand (can put a question mark next to them)

iv. passages you find strange or odd in any way

v. questions (write down any questions you have in the margin of the text)

vi. key terms, themes or ideas

vii. recurring ideas, symbols, metaphors

viii. details that reveal a character's personality or motivation

ix. setting (what it reveals about characters)

x. moments of revelation

xi. passages that highlight the author's writing style

xii. words you don't know (always look them up in the dictionary!)

c. Draw stars, exclamation points or other symbols that you've made up and that make sense to you

d. Note observations about the text in margins of book

e. Know that the process of notetaking will make you read more actively

i. Even if you never consult your notes, the process of marking your text will help you better remember what you're reading (of course, you should always consult your notes when preparing for an essay or an exam!).