Skills Hub

Tips for making notes

Reading an academic text is generally less straightforward than reading a newspaper or a novel. There are a lot of ideas and information packed on to a page and you will usually have to read it more than once to understand it. The Skills Hub Guide to reading and noting provides practical advice.

When you make notes, it is important to make sure you understand the material. It's best to write it down in your own words - your notes can be brief and informal.

If you copy text directly, you may not fully understand the material and you run the risk of committing plagiarism.

If you want to use a direct quote, record the source details and page number straight away so that you don't have trouble finding them later.

Make sure you know how to reference correctly. Your School will tell you which referencing system to use and there may be a guide in your handbook. Follow the correct referencing style on Skills Hub.

You may want to use digital note-making tools, such as OneNote and Evernote. Digital note-making tools allow you to:

• Include different types of notes: typed, handwritten, multimedia content (image, video, audio), clipping content from web pages, and attached documents
• Sync content between internet-connected devices so notes are available on all your devices
• Easily edit and rearrange your notes
• Search through your notes to quickly find your content (often you can apply tags to make this even easier)
• Share content with others and collaborate.


Useful symbols and abbreviations

Investigate if there are any conventional symbols and abbreviations used in your own subject. You can also adopt the symbols listed below.

You might want to make up your own symbols or abbreviations. This can save you time, as long as you don't forget what they mean or use them in notes you share with other people.

Remember to avoid using abbreviations in formal written assignments, except in references and bibliographies - see Latin abbreviations.

+plus, in addition to
>greater than/more than/better than
<smaller than/lesser than/worse than
=is the same as/is equal to

is not the same as
leads to/produces/causes
for example (from the Latin 'exempli gratia')
that is, that means (from the Latin 'id est''
etc.and the rest (from the Latin 'et cetera')
NBimportant, note this (from the Latin 'Nota Bene') (plural: pp.)
C1717th century
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