Linear Note Taking

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What is Linear Note Taking?



Linear note taking is the typical outline format. If you would like a review on linear note taking, this page is perfect for you. Many people find this method of note taking very effective because this type of organization and formatting works best for them. When they review their notes, it all makes sense and they are able to glean the information they need from their outline.

If you do not like to use outlines try Cornell Notes or mapping. Remember, you need to use whatever form of note taking works for you. With that reminder, let's review linear note taking.

Linear note taking can be done while:

  • Reading
  • Listening to a lecture
  • Listening to class discussions
  • Organizing thoughts

In this article I will give you some great tips on how to do linear note taking while reading and listening to a lecture. These tips will definitely help you take better notes so you can improve your grades.

Note Taking While Reading

Here are some tips to make linear note-taking a more successful experience. Actually, these are good tips for any type of note taking.

Remember: Note taking while reading will help you organize important topics and details.

Note taking when reading is great because you are in total control of how fast you are taking in the information. When you are listening to a lecture, you are at the mercy of the speaker. When you are reading, you can go as slowly or as quickly as you would like.

For this example, we are going to outline a chapter on Force from a Physical Science book. Here we go.

  1. Quickly scan through the chapter. This need not take any longer than a couple of minutes. Don't take notes yet, you are simply trying to get a general idea of what information will be covered.
  2. Go back to the beginning and write in the headings and subheadings, but remember to leave room between the headings. Like this:
  3. linear note taking tips

  4. After you have your headings and subheadings written down, go back to the beginning. As you read, look for:
    • Words in bold
    • Vocabulary words
    • Formulas
    • Explanations
    And make note of these. The result should look like this:

    linear note taking tips

After you have read a chapter and taken notes stop for a minute to think about what you have just read. Ask yourself:

  1. Do I know the main ideas?

  2. Do I remember some important facts?

  3. Can I intelligently discuss the information presented in this chapter?

You may find you want to go back and review some of the information and add to your existing notes. I would be very surprised if you did NOT have to go back and take more notes. You will be amazed at how this review will help you remember the information.

Linear Note Taking During a Lecture

This is a little trickier because you do not have control over what the teacher will say or when they will say it. Let's face it we've all sat in classes with a teacher who rambles. Just how in the world are you supposed to take notes on rambling? Well, I'm going to give you some tips on how to take effective notes no matter how good the speaker is.

When you first get to the classroom you should:

  • Put a date on your notes
  • Write the title of the lecture, if you know it

During the lecture do not try to write down every word. That will never work. Write down only main points. A good system to make sure you can glean good information from the lecture is by using the following:

  • Question
  • Evidence
  • Conclusion

What this means is that most information given by professors and/or teachers is given in a question format. For example, "What crop was the impetus that led to slavery in Europe and the Americas?"

So now you have your question. Start listening for the evidence that will bring a conclusion (answer) to the question.

Sometimes finding the answer and supporting evidence is not so easy. Here are some tips that will help you recognize important information.

Listen for the teacher saying:

  • "The main point...."

  • "This will be on the test...."

  • "The most important reason is...."

Be sure to copy all that is written on the board.
The reason this is being written is because it is important!

When you are finished with the class you should have several questions with answers or conclusions and the evidence to support the answer.

Using A Laptop

One thing you really should do if at all possible is take a laptop to class for linear note taking. This will make things so much easier because you will easily be able to cut and paste and rearrange things to your liking.

Using a laptop for note taking also gives you the ability to use text formatting to highlight important things such as formulas, vocabulary and important ideas. Use:

Bold Fonts

  1. Lists

Underlining

Italics

  • ¬∑Bullets

ALL CAPS

Whatever it takes to help you understand the information. Implementing these tips will soon have you on your way to developing a method of note taking that works for you.

The trick to using a laptop for note taking is to stay organized, so here are some hints. If you use a laptop in class be sure to:

  1. Make separate folders for each class
  2. In each folder have a "notes" directory
  3. Save each "notes" document with the date in the file name, ie. Psychology_2_5_2009.doc

Unless you are a really great linear note taking person, there is a good chance you will have to re-write or edit your notes after class. But that's o.k. because it will give you a chance to review your notes.

More Note Taking Ideas

Note Taking

Effective note taking is a great way to improve your grades. Here is an overview on note taking technigues. It is important to find a method of note taking that works for you. That's why at Study Skills For All Ages, we discuss many different methods of note taking.

Linear Note Taking

What is linear note taking? It's really outlining. Here are some great linear note taking tips that will help you take more effective notes so you can study more effectively and improve your grades.

Note Taking Symbols

Note taking symbols and abbreviations are a fantastic way to accelerate your note taking from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds!! Don't miss out on this valuable tip.


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