My Information Skills

Self-paced tutorials on research and study skills for TAFE SA students

Make notes

Reading, listening and note-making are key skills you are expected to use during your TAFE SA study.

Every individual learns differently. There is no right or wrong way to study, as long as you are able to learn the material.

Notes can be made using:

  • recording devices: Ideal for people with dyslexia or a disability
  • electronic devices: Phones, laptops, tablets. BEWARE of multi-tasking (checking emails, texting, websurfing). Research has shown that multi-tasking, especially during lectures, significantly reduces student learning.
  • pen and paper

Tips for making notes:

  • Focus on your topic. Make sure you understand the main points, facts and opinions that you want to research for your assignment. Don't be distracted from your goal.
  • Be organised. Use loose-leaf paper, so you can keep your notes, lecture handouts, and other information on the same topic together in a folder. Title, date and number each page. Don't cram your notes, use lots of paper.
  • Notes should be brief. They act as reminders or memory 'joggers'. Don't use sentences, use keywords.
    Learn or create some 'short hand' symbols and abbreviations. Keep a record of the abbreviations that you use.
  • Write down all the details about any resources you use. You will need these details for referencing.
    These details include author/s, title, publication information, web addresses, publication date etc. (See next page.) How do I reference my information? will show you how to create a reference citation for your bibliography.
  • Write down the page number beside each note, quote or paraphrasing.
  • Include your comments on the text and how it relates to your topic.
  • Evaluate the relevance of the main points to your topic.
  • Mark where you have included direct quotes. This will prevent accidental plagiarism. Copy down the wording exactly.
  • Write a summary after reading each article, or summarise each paragraph (whichever is easier for you).
  • Colours, or a mind map, can link connected information.
  • numbering system will highlight logical sequences.
  • Keep your notes legible. Pen lasts longer, and is clearer than pencil.
  • REVIEW your notes regularly. Within 24 hours, a week, and two months is a good schedule.

For more information, go to the TAFE SA guide on Note-taking.


See The Conversation's What's the best way to take notes on your laptop or tablet.