Do you have a favourite way to make and keep notes during and after your English lessons?
One of the most important things you can do to help you learn English well is to have a good system for making and keeping notes.
If you have folders full of many loose sheets of notes and handouts, you won’t be able to easily find the work you need to look at again for revision or for completing your homework.
And a notebook crammed full of your rough notes is not very useful if, for example, you can’t easily find information about a grammar point your teacher has discussed with you, or the title of a recommended English language study book.
A good system for making and keeping notes will help you:
- complete your homework e.g. write a letter or a report;
- gradually build your knowledge of English e.g. with vocabulary and grammar lists;
- understand the language points you are being taught in your lessons;
- keep a record of useful books, web sites, films, newspapers, magazines etc;
- understand your strengths and weaknesses in your language learning;
- prepare for exams.
What is the best way to make and keep notes?
The best way is the one that works for you and you will need to try a few ways to see which ones work best for you, but here are a few suggestions that might help.
Be organized and create a folder for your notes (this can be a paper folder or a folder on your computer), and divide it into as many sections as you need. For example:
- vocabulary (grouped by topic);
- outlines for formal and informal letters, reports and presentations;
- assignments or homework;
- cultural and historical background information;
- recommended resources to help with your English learning such as audio books, films, DVDs, dictionaries (including electronic dictionaries), newspapers (and news web sites), magazines and radio stations;
- exam notes.
Make notes during your English lessons, and at the end of each lesson update your folder: add new words to your vocabulary list, file or write up new grammar points and organize any new information on assignments, resources and exams.
Writing up and organizing your notes will also help you to learn and remember the work you completed in your lesson.
If you keep a vocabulary list have a new page for each topic, for example:
- the weather;
- booking a holiday,
- a list of items of furniture.
Split each page into two columns. Write the English words in one column, and their definitions in the other column in your own language – or in English if you can.
Remember to make a note when words have irregular plurals.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. How do you make and keep notes for your language learning? Do you have any different ideas?
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