How to take notes in English

A lot of the tips for learning English that I mention on this site rely on taking notes. Everyone likes taking notes in different ways and different methods of note-taking suit different lifestyles.

Today I thought I would go through all my favourite ways of taking notes when learning a language.

1. A notebook. Notebooks are great because they never break and are easy to carry anywhere. You can also look back on your notes later on to see how much progress you have made.

My favourite brand of notebook is Moleskine and I like their squared paper pocket notebooks best of all. The squared paper is great for writing sentences on or making tables of vocabulary and they have a little pocket at the back to keep other pieces of paper or notes in.

2. Index cards. Index cards are cheap and easy to make. You can throw them away when you are finished with them or keep them and use them to track your progress. They aren’t as durable as a notebook but they are lighter and cheaper.

3. An iPhone/iPod touch. These little gadgets are great and there are so many interesting applications being developed for them all the time. It’s easy to use one to take notes and you can even download flashcard applications to help you remember all the new vocabulary you write down.

If you like gadgets, though, it might be worth waiting for an iPad rather than buying a new iPod. It will have more space on the screen for reading and you can attach a keyboard in case you need to make more extensive notes.

4. A computer. If, like me, you work in front of a computer all day, why not use it to make notes on new vocabulary as you come across it? Using a Firefox addon like Quicknote is a great way to make a note of new words and expressions without disrupting your workflow.

5. Voice notes. A great idea for auditory learners. You could use your cell phone or a voice recorder to make your notes. This is a god way to practise your speaking skills, too.

6. A whiteboard. Whiteboards aren’t just for teachers. If you hang a whiteboard on your wall at home, you can write notes on it then wipe it clean when you are finished. Whiteboards are cheap and easy to maintain.

7. Post-it® Notes. These little sticky pieces of paper are another cheap way to make notes in English. The great thing about learning English using post-it notes is that you can stick them somewhere really obvious so you don’t forget whatever you have written on them.

What’s your favourite way to make notes when you are learning English?

Today’s image is by Elisa Nobe.


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