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Taking Notes Module

Taking Notes from Textbooks & Course Readings

As in lecture notes, you only want to write down the main or takeaway points as opposed to large chunks of text when taking notes from a textbook or course readings. To do this efficiently you will need to practice active reading

To begin:

  • Write down the chapter/article title and the week this reading is assigned (e.g. Week 3 Reading)
  • If you’re using paper, use a fresh piece
  • If you’re using a computer, use a new document

Look for:

  • Visual cues such as bold face, colours, borders etc.
  • Headings and subheadings which will direct you to the main points and ideas
  • Any chapter introductions, summaries and review questions that you can use to determine the most important points 

Active Reading

Active reading means being engaged with what you're reading. Being engaged allows you to ask questions and to be critical while you read. This also has the added benefit of helping you retain what you read.

Tips to make your reading active:

  • Underline or highlight key words and phrases as you read
  • Make annotations in the margin to summarize points, ask questions or any other thoughts you have
  • Look for words and phrases that imply importance. For example, most importantly, in contrast, on the other hand, etc.