Tips and guidance on effective study - simply choose the links that interest you!
Taking notes from speech (in a lecture, tutorial or from recorded audio) can be difficult because it may not be possible to ask the speaker to repeat their words. You may find yourself writing as fast as you can and still missing potentially important points.
Cynthia, an OU student, describes her preferred method of organising notes.Sign in to view this video
The notes below were made by two students attending a tutorial about social inclusion and special needs. You can see their different ways of capturing the relevant information. Prior to the tutorial the students were told which chapters and study topics to read - preparation is worth doing as it helps you to concentrate on the key points during a tutorial.
Student 1 used hand-written linear notes for a lecture about social inclusion and special needs. Example of linear notes
This student summarised the key points and organised the themes into clusters of ideas. The student also noted down useful references. However the notes are incomplete, and should be expanded when the student revisits them.
The references listed at the bottom of the notes are not given in full, and this would make them difficult to follow up later. So it is a good idea to add the full details to your notes as soon as you can.
The references when written out in full should look a little like this (be sure to check your module instructions on the formatting of references).
Student 2 had a more visual representation of the same tutorial. Example of flow chart notes
This student has used a flow chart to link the notes and make connections. It shows the same information, but the details are set out as a diagram.
Some people find it much easier to remember and understand information if it is mapped out in this way. Whichever method you adopt, you do still need to revisit your notes to make sure they are well organised and coherent for you.