Friday, April 24, 2009


Now that the semester is almost over and the race is nearly finished, I have had a few minutes to reflect on my classes. I have come to the conclusion that a student is only as successful as his or her notes. I have had the opportunity to review several peoples' notes since I had to ask classmates for their notes due to being out of class for a week. Wow.

I take notes in outline form. I have been taking notes that way since my sophomore year in high school. I have Jim Walker, my sophomore Biology teacher, to thank for that. An outline is comprised of several main points with several sub points. The sub points help to define the main point. I like that kind of organization. I do not do well with random facts floating around on a piece of paper, especially if I am going back several weeks later and trying to study those facts.

A typical portion of my notes looks like this: (from my Anthropology class - indentations not formatted in this program)

I. Middle Archaic Hunter Gatherers
A. Middle Archaic (c. 8,000 - 5,000 BP)
1. Expansion of pine forests & prairies during the Middle Holocene in
the Southeastern US
a. Climatic changes - increasing solar activity in Northern Hemisphere
1) drying out, getting hotter
2) affected plants and animals
b. Middle Holocene climate
1) warming trend from 8,000-4,000 BP, 2-3 degrees warmer than present
2) expansion of pine forests and prairies

One of the main points of that lecture was: hunter-gatherers in the Middle Archaic period. The first sub point defines the time of the Middle Archaic, while the other points define the reason for the expansion of forests and prairies during the Middle Archaic. The reason it was important to know about the expansion of forests and prairies was because it signified an expansion in the territory for the hunter-gatherers. It all adds up to a wider definition of the main topic.

How one takes notes is vitally important to one's success as a student. Review of those notes is vitally important to studying for an exam, recalling information for a paper or recounting facts for a presentation. For me, taking notes in outline form makes the information in my notes easier to access. Are your notes "noteworthy"? Stay tuned . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do not do well with: Spider Graphs, Mind Maps or anything that is not listed or ordered. My notes are formatted much like yours.

AS a side note - I love post-it notes - they are great for asides that I have missed out/added afterwards from my main notes.