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Taking Lecture Notes.docx

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Political Science
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Jeffrey Kopstein

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During the Lecture 1. Listen carefully to the introduction of the lecture. Copy what's written on the whiteboard or overhead projector. Every professor organizes each lecture into some sort of outline, even if it's implicit and loosely followed. By knowing this outline, you will be better prepared to anticipate what notes you will need to take 2. Take notes in outline format. Underneath section headings, write down ideas in bullet form and supplementary ideas with indented sub-bullets. This is much better than just writing down everything as a new point.  Professors are not always organized about following main points with sub-points, so keep in mind that you may have to re-organize your notes after the lecture. This is why it may be advantageous to take notes with a laptop, as editing becomes seamless.  Your first priority should be grasping the lecture content and writing it down -- never let organization compromise your information acquisition. 3. Use abbreviations and skip unimportant words to take notes efficiently. Only record the important words that you need to get the idea of the point made. Skip words like "the" and "a" that do not convey additional meaning to the lecture content. Create abbreviations to help you write things down quickly, such as drawing arrows for increase/decrease or to show causation, and especially for terms used over and over again (e.g., IR for international relations).  Remember: your goal is to understand what the professor is saying, not to try to record exactly everything he or she says. 4. Recognize main ideas by signal words that indicate something important is to follow. Your instructor is not going to send up a rocket when he/she states an important new idea or gives an example, but she will use signals to telegraph what she is doing. Every good speaker does it, and you should expect to receive these signals. Examples include:  There are three reasons why...  Firs
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