Why are notetaking skills important at university?

This is the first of three chapters about Notetaking. To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Introduce the concept of notetaking in academic contexts

– Discuss the benefits of notetaking skills for students

– Explore some less common scenarios when quick and efficient notetaking would be helpful for students

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Before you begin reading...

This topic now has an interactive unit: Taking Effective Notes
  • video and audio texts
  • knowledge checks and quizzes
  • skills practices, tasks and assignments

Chapter 1

Success at university doesn’t only require an intimate knowledge of the subject you’re studying, it also requires the development of certain language skills
that help you to research, write and enter into academic debate. Yet in addition to the classic skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking, there are a number of lesser-known study skills that will also benefit your life as an academic, one of the most important of which is notetaking.

In this short three-chapter reader on notetaking, we explore the benefits of this skill in Chapter 1 before focussing on the five most helpful notetaking methods that are available to students in Chapter 2. Then in Chapter 3, we turn our attention to the symbols and abbreviations that can quicken your notetaking, making it more effective in authentic fast-paced learning environments such as lectures and seminars. Once you’ve completed all three chapter, our chapter worksheets can then be downloaded to check your knowledge and improve your English proficiency.


What is notetaking?

Simply put, notetaking is the act of putting to paper the ideas, arguments or evidence that you’ve encountered during your studies. Notes may include paraphrases and summaries, they may include the direct words you read or heard, and they may include images, diagrams, mind maps, highlighting, or some other form of written or typed text:

In truth, there is no one set method or style of notetaking, and each student may develop their own techniques that suit them best.


How is notetaking beneficial?

Notetaking can help you with your studies in a variety of ways. It can help you to:

  • improve vocabulary and critical thinking
  • develop paraphrasing and summarising skills
  • increase subject-specific knowledge
  • engage and reflect on the topic
  • better memorise the subject content
  • gather information for an academic assignment
  • collect source details for accurate referencing

When might you need to take notes?

Because it’s not necessary (or practical) to take notes all the time while studying, a good student should be conscious of when they should and should not be doing so. By keeping a notebook, a tablet or a computer at easy reach, you should be able to respond quickly to information that requires jotting down. While seminars and lectures might be obvious occasions for academic notetaking, below are some less-common scenarios that you may find yourself in that require effective notetaking:

1 of 3 Chapters Completed


Once you’ve completed all three chapters in this short reader about Notetaking, you might then wish to download our Chapter Worksheets to check your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks.

Chapter 1 explores the topic: Why are notetaking skills important at university? Our Chapter 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Chapter 2 explores the topic: Which 5 academic notetaking methods are best? Our Chapter 2 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Chapter 3 explores the topic: Do abbreviations and symbols benefit notetaking? Our Chapter 3 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

To save yourself 2 Marks, click on the button below to gain unlimited access to all of our Notetaking Chapter Worksheets. This All-in-1 Pack includes every chapter, activity and answer key related to this topic in one handy and professional PDF.

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Spring 2022