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Unit 6 Various Forms of Notetaking

Unit 6 Various Forms of Notetaking

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Reading & Reasoning/HVCC/Fall 20072B. Engelman, InstructorVarious Forms of Notetaking
(Unit 6 in “Textcerpts”)The Cornell Method
There are many different notetaking formats. (
Formats
 
are ways to organizeinformation on a page
.) Perhaps the best known and most widely advocated notetakingsystem is the Cornell Method. The reason this method and variations on it are so popular is because the format includes a built-in review column. The Cornell Method is effectivefor both classroom lecture notetaking and textbook reading notetaking. Taking notes inclass helps you concentrate; taking notes from your textbooks helps you comprehend thematerial and prepare effectively for class and for tests.To create the review column, you simply rule off a 2” to 3”—wide review columnon the left side of your notebook paper. Leave the column blank while you are takingnotes from the textbook (or lecture). On the main part of the page (the larger rightcolumn), take your notes in an organized manner by using either a formal or an informaloutline. When you have finished taking notes, go back and fill in the left review column.Write either a question or a clue word/phrase beside each major section in your notes.When you are ready to review for a test, cover the main body of the notes (the rightcolumn) and look at each question or clue word. Use the questions or clue words totrigger your recall of the corresponding information. If you cannot answer the questionor say the information
out loud, without looking at it first 
, uncover the information andread it. Then cover it up and say it aloud
without looking 
. After rehearsing theinformation this way, you will eventually be able to say the material from memory simply by looking at the questions or clue words.
Until you can say it (or write it out) without looking at it first, you don’t know it.
When you use this technique, you help yourself in several ways. First, youincorporate reading, writing, reciting, and hearing into your learning. Combined, they aremore powerful than any single one by itself. Second, you cannot remember materialwithout rehearsing it (saying it or writing it). Finally, using the Cornell Method to recordthe information followed by oral recitation from the recall (left) column allows you to testyourself aloud and, if no sound comes out of your mouth, that’s a major tip-off that youneed to continue working with the material!!! Remember: the time to discover that youdon’t know the material is
before
you take the test – not while you’re actually taking it!
Outlining
Outlining 
is a formal way of organizing main ideas and supporting details to show the relationships among them.
Outlining can be especially beneficial when you aredealing with complex material, when you want to condense material to get an overviewof the parts, or when you are dealing with material that isn’t well organized to begin with.When you take a test that includes essay questions, you should take a minute to make aquick outline of the points (and perhaps examples) you want to include in your answer.You will write a more logical, coherent, and complete answer – and receive more points1
 
as a result. When teachers assign you a paper to write, they will often require you to turnin an outline before you actually start writing the paper.
Various Forms of Notetaking, p. 2
The terrific advantage of outlines is that they reveal at a glance the relativeimportance of each part of the material: the most important points are aligned to the left,with the material that supports them listed beneath the more important points andindented to the right. The farther to the right a set of points is indented, the more detailedthe information is. Items that are indented the same amount are of equal importance or detail.Outlines can be formal or informal.
 Formal outlines
use a strict system of Romannumerals, upper- and lowercase letters, and Arabic numbers.
 Informal outlines
typicallyuse Arabic numbers; details listed beneath the main points may be set off with simpledashes or alphabet letters. Regardless of the type of outline, however, indentation isimportant, and supporting details are listed on separate lines beneath the main point theysupport. Also, regardless of the type of outline, you should give the outline the same titleas the material you are outlining (do NOT title your outline “Outline”).You are going to be creating formal outlines in class now and during the secondhalf of the semester. Formal outlines can be either 
 sentence outlines
or 
topic outlines
, butsentence outlines are more valuable as study tools. When you outline a paragraph, themain idea is the most important point, of course, so it is written beside the Romannumeral (I, II, III, etc.) and placed against the left margin. If a paragraph has a statedmain idea, use it. Otherwise, you will have to formulate the main idea. Details areindented
on separate lines
beneath the main point they support. Each detail is designated by a capital, upper-case letter (A, B, C, etc.), and there will be as many of them as thereare details. If there are minor details that support a major detail, they are indented beneath it and labeled with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.). Even more minor detailswould be designated by lower-case letters (a, b, c, etc.).When an item in the outline is longer than one line in length and must becontinued on the line below it, align it with the
 first letter of the first word above it 
. If you go all the way back to the left margin, the levels of indentation will be obscured. Acorrect formal outline of a paragraph with five supporting details would look like this:I. Main idea sentence (if the sentence is more than one line long, indent the“spillover” and align it with the first letter of the first word on the line above)A. Supporting detail #1 (if the supporting detail information is morethan one line long, indent the “spillover” and align it with the firstletter of the first word on the line above)B. Supporting detail #2C. Supporting detail #3D. Supporting detail #4E. Supporting detail #5 Note the examples above of how long sentences/information are carried over andindented on the next line.2
 
Various Forms of Notetaking, p. 3
If the paragraph has major and minor supporting details, then the correct formaloutline would look something like this:I. Main idea sentence (if the sentence is more than one line long, indent the“spillover” and align it with the first letter of the first word on the line above)A. Major supporting detail #1 (if the supporting detail information ismore than one line long, indent the “spillover” and align it with thefirst letter of the first word on the line above)1. Minor supporting detail (if the supporting detail informationis more than one line long, indent the “spillover” and align itwith the first letter of the first word on the line above)2. Minor supporting detailB. Major supporting detail #21. Minor supporting detail2. Minor supporting detail3. Minor supporting detailFor multiparagraph selections, the process is repeated paragraph by paragraph, asit is in this example:I. First main idea sentenceA. Major supporting detail1. Minor supporting detail2. Minor supporting detailB. Major supporting detail1. Minor supporting detail2. Minor supporting detail3. Minor supporting detailII. Second main idea sentenceA. Major supporting detailB. Major supporting detail1. Minor supporting detail2. Minor supporting detailC. Major supporting detailIII. Third main idea sentenceA. Major supporting detail1. Minor supporting detaila. minor supporting detail b. minor supporting detail3

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