Note Making Explained

Note Making

Note Making Explained: Note making is a systematic method of writing down specifically, briefly, and clearly. The important points of a text read or heard in the form of verbal or oral input. We can also call it a brief written record. Note making is a harmonious blend of two important skills-reading listening and writing.

Difference between Note Making and Note Taking

We distinguish between note-taking and note-making. Note-taking may be a passive process that’s done at lectures whereas note-making may be a more active and focused activity where you assimilate all information and add up of it for yourself.

How to make effective notes;

  • Read/Listen to the text carefully to find out the purpose, central idea.
  • Identify the keywords, main points, and important details that support the main ideas ie illustrations, examples, etc
  • Interpret correctly the graphic ads, tables.

Why make notes?

Note making is used to;
  • Keep a record of the main points of the text for memory and future use.
  • Revise for an examination

Note writing Techniques;

There are four different techniques (topicalizing, schematizing, copying, transcribing)


Name of the technique

What it refers to



Writing down the main points along with supporting details.

While rephrasing the text, unnecessary words phrases are

discarded and even removed.



It is the method of using graphics, tables, and tree diagrams for easy understanding of scientific and technical texts.



It is used to write down verbatim what is read.



It is used to write down verbatim what is heard.

We will discuss more the first two techniques, that is, topicalizing and schematizing,


Note – how the main points are cut short (topicalized)

The Great Wall of China:


Extract from the original text-

We all have heard about the Great Wall of China. This is the longest wall in the world. Being more than 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) long. Its height ranges from 4.57 to 9.2 meters (15 to 30 feet) while thickness is 9.75 meters (32 feet) It was built of stone and brick. The construction of the Great Wall started in the year 221 B.C. and it took 15 years to complete this work. This Great Wall was built to protect China from Mongol invaders.

King Shin Huang Ti united different provinces of China into an empire. To protect China from the Mongols, he ordered the construction of a huge wall. So the wall starting from Shahi Kuan in the Bay of Pohai to Chaihuman in Kansu was constructed.

The Great Wall of China is one of the very few men made objects that are visible from the moon


Note: how the main points are cut short (topicalized)

The Great Wall of China, the longest wall of the world length 2400 km, height 4.57 to 9.2 meters (15 to 20 feet) width 32 feet, construction started 221 BC.completed in 15 years, built by King Shin Huang Ti to protect China from Mongols. Wall begins from Shahi Kuan in the bay of Pohai to Chaihuman in Kansu. It is visible from the moon.


Read the following paragraph about plastics and note how it is schematized in the form of a tree diagram:

The behavior of plastics when heated provides the basis for the distinction between the two main classes of plastics available today. These two groups of plastics include thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics. The first group consists of plastics that soften when heated and become rigid when cooled again. In fact, with further heating and cooling these plastics can be made to change their shape repeatedly. This is due to the fact that only weak bonding is present between neighboring molecules, and when warm, the molecules slide very easily past one another. Polythene, PVC, nylon, and perspex are examples of thermoplastics.

Thermosetting plastics, on the opposite hand, become rigid on further heating and can’t be softened again. These plastics contain polymer chains that react with each other at points of contact in order that they become strongly linked together in three dimensions. Intermolecular bonds prevent the relative movement of the first chains. Examples of thermosetting plastics are bakelite and melamine.

Notes: (Schematised in the form of a tree diagram)


Mechanics of note-making:

While making notes we follow certain standard practices. 
These may be listed as follows: 
  1. Heading and Sub-headings 
  2. Abbreviation and Symbols
  3. Note-form 
  4. Numbering and Indentation 

Heading and sub-headings:

The heading reflects the most theme whereas the sub-headings mean how it’s been developed. The selection of proper heading and sub-heading reveals the grasp of the passage by the students. In the absence of proper assimilation of main ideas and subsidiary points, it’s impossible to form notes.

Abbreviations and symbols:

They are used for precision and economy of words and hence quite helpful in note-making. At least four recognizable abbreviations are to be utilized in note-making in your board examination. These are essential components of note-making. Students often make use of abbreviations and symbols in doing their written work.

Some Examples of symbols and abbreviations:


  • & for ‘and’
  • % for percent
  •  for therefore
  •  for because etc.
  • @ or at the rate of
  • / for  or etc.


1.Acronyms: (capital initial letters)

  • CO for Commanding Officer
  • CM for Chief Minister
  • GPO for General Post Office
2.Contractions (taking first few letters of the word )
  • Co. for Company
  • Col. for Colonel
  • esp. for especially
  • Tech. for Technical
  • Univ. for University
3.Short-form  (taking first few and last few letters)
  • Dept for Department
  • estd for established
  • Govt for Government
  • Std for Standard

4. Some other contractions:

  • A/c for Account
  • can’t for cannot
  • kg for kilogram
  • M/S for Messers
  • Often a full stop is put after an abbreviation that does not end with the last letter of the word; such as
             Col.  For  Colonel
             Info  for  information

  • The abbreviation that ends with the last letter of the word does not require any full stop at the end, such as
           Dr for Doctor
           Ms for Miss


While making notes the entire information is listed during a note-form in points only. Notes shouldn’t be written in complete sentences as we will not remember the entire information. So only the most points are listed one under the opposite and numbered. It implies the logical division and sub-division of the listed information by using figures, letters, dashes, and spaces.

Numbering and Indentation 

Indentation means leaving space at the start of a line of print or writing.
First, write the title then write down the notes in a logical order. From the main headings to the sub-headings, the numbering should be spaced a little to the right. 



Don’t do this in note-making

  1. Never use any diagrams
  2. Avoid writing unnecessary facts and using examples
  3. Do not use the confusing abbreviation
  4. Do not abbreviate every work.

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