Our Disability & Dyslexia team offer tips on how to enhance your note taking skills…
Studying at university means lots of time spent in lectures and seminars taking notes, these tips are designed to help you get the most out of your notes to enhance your learning.
Taking effective notes is essential for good revision and high academic performance, follow these tips…
- Arrive in plenty of time before the lecture begins – this will give you an opportunity to organise yourself and become accustomed to your surroundings. Each lecture hall is slightly different and you will need to ensure you are in the best position to both hear the lecturer and be able to see all the information, whilst also hearing what is being said by other students. Arriving at the lecture on time, or late, may mean you miss out on vital information often given before the lecture officially starts.
- Be aware of what the lecture is about – i.e. the aims and objectives; what are you expected to have learned at the conclusion? What are the main points? This will help focus your note taking. Remember that lecturers are often excited by their subject and can become side-tracked by points which are often interesting, but not always strictly relevant. Listen for “signpost” words to indicate a transition from one point to the next (e.g. ‘next’ and ‘finally’) and numerical signposts like ‘first’ or ‘third’.
- Decide which note taking style is appropriate for you – remember that you will have to re-visit these notes in many months’ time, so it’s important to ensure that they make sense to you now and will do in the future. It’s a good idea to immediately file notes following a lecture along with any relevant hand-outs. Try not to leave them all as loose pages in your bag or room. Write the topic and date on the top of the page and number pages- it’s boring but will help you in the long run and make you less stressed. Mind mapping the key points of the lecture will not only act as a good revision tool for exams, but will also utilise your visual strengths.
Get organised using colour coding, try these colourful tips for organising your notes and using this information…
- Colour code subjects/topics, match to appropriate coloured document files and use colour ‘dot’ stickers to mark the spine of textbooks.
- Use coloured Post-it Notes to help you remember things during the day, e.g. yellow for study and green for activities. Bookmark information when reading with coloured Post-it Flags/Index Tabs. Display coloured Stick Notes on the desktop of your Windows PC.
- Use coloured highlighters to identify key facts and categorise information, e.g. yellow for supportive and green for contrasting arguments, or for grouping themes during data analysis; a coloured page could be used for each theme. If displaying key information in a mind-map format (during essay planning or revision), use different coloured branches to signify each main point or paragraph.
Had note taking support recommended through the Disabled Students’ Allowance?
If yes, the following information about our Support Worker Service will be of interest to you.
What is the Student Support Worker Service?
- The Support Worker Service assists students with their academic life enabling them to access education on a level playing field.
- The support worker service is funded via an individual student’s Local Education Authority (LEA). In order to qualify for this funding, students must be awarded a Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and undertake a Needs Assessment.
- The support worker service provides various types of assistance such as note takers for lectures, library assistance, practical assistance, tours of campus, proofreading and laboratory supports amongst others. The amount of support is dictated by the Needs Assessment and approved by the respective LEA.
- Following the Needs Assessment, the student will receive notification from their LEA detailing the support they are entitled to. It is the student’s responsibility to pass this on to the support worker service. The service will then contact the student and arrange for support to take place at the appropriate place/time. It is the student’s responsibility to sign timesheets to evidence that support has been provided.
Meet Delyth your Student Support Worker Service Manager
“Hi, I’m Delyth Morgan and I’m one of the Disability & Dyslexia Advisers at Cardiff University. My role involves advising students with disabilities and specific learning difficulties about accessing support and reasonable adjustments at university. I also conduct screenings for students who think they may have a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia or ADHD.
I am also the manager of the Support Worker Service which provides non-medical support for students with disabilities, such as note taking, campus support (library, orientation, practical and laboratory assistance).
I am based at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I cover our Heath Park office on Tuesdays.”
Ensuring you get the support you need
- Ensure you give the Support Worker Service plenty of notice where you require support. We will need at least a week’s notice and longer again if the support is required out of hours or on a weekend. If possible you can inform the service of your support requirements for the whole term in advance.
- Inform the service of any changes in lecture/seminar rooms and of any cancelled lectures as soon as you are aware.
- Don’t be afraid to call the service directly (Tel: 029 20 876050 or 07817 756435), especially if you require urgent support or are unable to attend university; we cannot guarantee that an email will be seen in time, but we are available on the phone between 8.30am-5.00pm.
- Remember that we can only do what you ask; the service will have no knowledge of your support needs from your individual academic School(s).
- We are here to help you, please don’t be afraid to ask. Whatever issues you are experiencing, we are sure to have helped students with it before.
Accessing more support from the Disability & Dyslexia Team…
If you have a disability or health condition and have not yet met with an Advisor to discuss your support needs please book an appointment with a Disability Advisor email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are unsure whether you have a Specific Learning Disability or know that you do but are yet to organise your diagnostic assessment, please contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service, Email: email@example.com for further information.
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.