Note taking and Reading Strategies
Note taking Strategies
The following notetaking strategies apply to most geology classes (D. Applegate, C. Smith, CAL).
Previewing all textbook assignments before class and carefully studying the illustrations greatly improves the student's understanding of the lecture material and makes it easier to take notes. Try xeroxing the chapter term list and/or book glossary to help with recording terms and definitions. Use the chapter headings and subheadings to make an outline of the main points to listen for during class. Review previous notes and be prepared to ask questions on things you do not understand.
Choose an appropriate format for organizing lecture notes. The Cornell method, with its recall and notes columns, is highly recommended.
Illustrations and Terms
As with any science course, pay particular attention to all terms, figures, and charts the instructor puts on the board. Record them in the notes. Be able to fully explain the details and significance of the terms and illustrations.
With the instructor's permission, tape the lectures and listen to them later to fill in empty spots in the notes and to enhance understanding of the main points of the lecture. Tape recording helps a great deal if a student has trouble keeping up in class with the notes. Listen to the lecture and concentrate on recording all information put on the board, including illustrations. Then listen to the tapes later and write down the important information said during lecture.
If you have trouble keeping up with lecture and recording illustrations put on the board by the instructor, and if tape recording does not help, try taking xeroxed copies of the illustrations from the book to class. It is often the case that instructors use the illustrations in the text book during lectures. If the tables, charts, and diagrams are already copied, then you simply have to write explanatory notes in the margins. Sometimes it helps to enlarge the illustrations when xeroxing them. Cut out the enlarged visual aid and paste it on a blank piece of paper or rexerox it so that there is plenty of room for recording notes.
Recopy and Reorganize
If necessary, recopy and reorganize the lecture notes. This is often necessary when tape recorders are used to record part of the lecture material. When reorganizing, incorporate written notes, tape recorded information, xeroxed illustrations with notes, and text material. Use the chapter's organizational format to reorganize if needed.
Check for Accuracy and Completeness
To be sure that the notes are accurate and complete, check the content against the text book, work with other students in the class, or ask your instructor.
Depending on the geology course, laboring over the textbook may or may not be critical to success. If text material is on the tests and is not covered in lecture, or if students have trouble understanding lectures, read carefully using strategies like SQ3R or PQ4R to ensure comprehension and retention. Read the material before it is covered in class and then review it afterward. On the other hand, if you are not tested over new text material, try the following strategies (D. Applegate, C. Smith, CAL).
Preview and Skim the Text
Preview text chapters by reading the introduction, section headings, and conclusion. Skim the text by reading the first sentence of each paragraph.
Focus on Illustrations
Perhaps the most important part of the text book is the illustrations. Because geology is a very visual discipline, students should focus their attention on the graphs, diagrams, figures, photos, and tables in the book. Students should be able to explain the parts of each illustration as well as their significance.
Preview Sample Questions
Look at the review questions at the end of each chapter. Be able to briefly outline answers to the questions, or take the list of questions to class and listen for the answers during lecture.