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For this study skills project, I changed my note-taking strategy in a number of ways. First of all, I started typing up my notes rather than hand-writing them. Second, I tried out Newport’s question-evidence-conclusion method. The class that I tried for this was actually this class! I don’t really have any note-intensive classes this semester, so I thought that Academic Skills would be a good thing to take notes on. Trying out new note-taking strategies is not new to me. In fact, last semester in my clinical psychology course I tried out a method where I folded my notebook paper vertically. On one side a wrote my notes, and on the other side I wrote down questions relating to it. This allowed me to fold my notes over and use the questions for studying. It was nice not having to rewrite another guide for studying, as I could just look at my notes. In general, I don’t really think any method of note-taking is difficult. The only issue that I may have with note-taking is some of the aspects that may take up more time, such as typing up any written notes or having to stylize them. Related to that, I think that finding the questions for the material may be a bit difficult as it will require me to go back and fill it in. It will be easy in that it is similar to the general note-taking that I have done before, so it is not a completely new strategy for me.
I plan to implement this skill by coming to Academic Skills with my laptop this Tuesday and Thursday. During the class, I will write my notes down in a Google Doc in the question-evidence-conclusion fashion. At the end of class, before my next one, I will go in and clean/format my notes to make them more understandable. I will also go in and fill in any of the blanks if I was not able to figure them out during class.
I do not see myself modifying this approach. It already fits in with my current note-taking style, but in three sections rather than just slapping all the notes down on a page. One of the concerns that I have for this project is, in general, adopting this note-strategy and finding out while studying for a test that just does not work for me. The concern is not very relevant for this particular assignment, however, as there are no tests for this class.
I have implemented this plan for two class sessions now. Overall, I think that this method of note-taking has been working well. I especially like the fact that my notes are typed. It makes them much easier to read, and it’s nice to be able to format them however I want at the click of a button. In the future, I will start typing my notes up more! Another advantage to having my notes typed is that I can access them from any electronic device whenever I want.
The Newport method for note taking was not very challenging, in my opinion, but there were some aspects that were difficult. For example, summarizing the material for the conclusion section was a bit tricky just because so much of the information in this class is tips rather than facts or evidence. Writing the question component for this class was easy, however. The PowerPoints really helped, as the titles were all related to the questions. I think that if I were to implement this strategy for a more note-intensive class, such as some of my psychology courses, I would be able to notice the difference a lot more. Writing notes for this class did serve as a good means of trying out Newport’s note-taking strategy and to practice writing in that style.
I believe that this method would help a lot with studying in that your study guide is right there in your notes–no rewriting of study guides required. For example, if I were to use my current notes as a study guide, I would have questions such as “What are some skills for academic writing?”. To check my answers, I would not have to look far and would be able to quickly view the supporting details. I cannot see any downsides to using this study skill, besides possibly having to go in and fill in some missing components.
I believe that this plan worked because I read the section Newport had written on the question-evidence-conclusion note-taking method. With this, I was able to read details about how to best implement the plan and view examples of the best way to use this strategy. I was not going in blind. It also helped that I had written up a specific plan of how I was going to take these notes, such as in Google Docs. This kept me from wasting valuable time trying to figure out my battle plan. Overall, I feel that my plan was very effective, with nothing not working well for me. I was surprised by the fact that I found it harder to write the conclusion sections than the question sections; there was a lot of talk before starting this assignment that it would be the other way around. I may have found the question sections easier due to the nature of this class and the fact that I was able to reference the PowerPoint. In a class that is purely lecture-based without a PowerPoint, I am sure that it would be a lot more difficult. In conclusion, I do not think that I would change anything about this study skill. I have already found it very useful for me.
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