Show AWL words on this page.
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One of the most difficult aspects of taking notes during lectures is that you cannot both listen and write at the same time. When you stop to write down an idea, you might miss something else which is important. This means you need to find a way to write down the main ideas as quickly as you can, so that you can maximise the amount of time you spend listening. This is where symbols and abbreviations can help.
On this page, you can find out:
Almost any word can be shortened during note-taking. Below are some ideas about how to do this.
One way to shorten a word is to use just the beginning of the word, for example:
Sometimes it can be useful to add the final letter of the word. Some people prefer to also add an apostrophe ('), others don't. For example:
Sometimes you might need to write out the whole word, but even so, you can probably leave out the vowels and still understand the word, for example:
The ending -ing is very common, so find a way to abbreviate it, for example:
If there are words which are commonly used in a particular lecture you are listening to, you should try to abbreviate them. For example, in a lecture about acid rain, the speaker might frequently talk about sulphur, nitrogen, pollution, factories. The following abbreviations could be used:
There are many common abbreviations and symbols which you can use for note-taking. You probably already know many of these (especially the mathematical symbols), but perhaps had not thought about using them before. Try to learn some of these and start using them when you take notes.
|→||leads to, causes (showing result)|
|←||caused by, because of (showing reason)|
|↑||increase, more, go up, up|
|↓||decrease, less, go down, down|
|=||equal to, is, are|
|≠||not equal to, is not, are not, is the opposite of|
|>>||much greater than|
|″ ″||ditto (same as above)|
|♂||man, men, male|
|♀||woman, women, female|
|etc.||etcetera, and so on|
|C||century, e.g. C20: 20th century|
|approx||approximate(ly) (see also ≈ symbol)|
|diff||difference, different, difficult, difficulty|
|1st||first (similarly 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.)|
|UK||United Kingdom (similarly US for America(n), Aus for Australia(n), Eur for Europe(an))|
|no.||number (see also # symbol)|
|prob||problem, probable, probably|
You should also try to develop your own list of personal abbreviations and symbols, which might use different rules from the ones above. Some might be suggested from your own language. One I particularly like is 人, the Chinese character for 'people', which is much quicker to write than any English abbreviation or symbol. I also use 'dgl' for 'the same' or 'similarly'; this is a German abbreviation (short for 'der gleich') which I learnt at university when studying mathematics.