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English at University

Intermediate level

17 - Take note

Episode 170109 / 09 Jan 2017

17 - Take note

It's the New Year and term is starting again at the University of Studies. After the break, Mary's finding it difficult to keep up in Professor Not's lecture and write down what he's saying. How will she cope and has Daniel got a technological solution?

Language focus

Asking for guidance about note taking and tips on how to do it

Mary asks Professor Not for some advice about what to write down in his lecture by using these phrases…

  • Could you say that again please?
  • You're going a bit too fast for me.
  • Have you any guidance about how to take notes?

And here are Professor Not's note taking tips...

  • Write down the important bits… I'll emphasise these bits in the lecture.
  • Write down what I say in your own words – although if I quote someone, make sure you write it down word-for-word.
  • Use words, abbreviations, symbols or even pictures to summarise what I say. If you miss something, leave a gap in your notes, and get the information from me later.
  • Remember to read through your notes after the lecture.

Vocabulary

Words and phrases used in this episode related to taking notes

  • note down
  • jot down
  • word-for-word

Transcript

Narrator
Hello. Welcome back to English at University –  the series that follows Mary through her first year of study abroad and teaches her and us some useful phrases.

It's the second term and students at the University of Studies settle down to some hard work. Mary's in a lecture, struggling to write down everything that Professor Not is trying to say…

Prof. Not  
…so this term, we're doing the module on marketing. Business and marketing go hand-in-hand. Any business in a marketplace is likely to be in competition with other firms offering similar products…

Mary
Err… excuse me Professor… could you say that again please?

Prof. Not
… I said… any business in a marketplace…

Mary
No the bit before that… please. You're going a bit too fast for me.

Narrator
Having trouble Mary?

Mary
Yes. I'm trying to write down everything he says but I can't keep up.

Narrator
You can't write everything down – you need to take notes.

Mary
Notes?

Narrator
Just note down words, phrases, bits of information from the lecture – things that will help you remember what's been said. Ask for help if you're not sure what to do.

Mary
Yes, I think I will. Ermm, Professor… sorry to interrupt again… what you're saying is fascinating… but I want to remember it all… have you any guidance about how to take notes?

Prof. Not
Oh thank you Mary. Fascinating eh? Well just use a pen and a notebook…

Mary
But what should I write down?

Daniel
I think you need one of these… a voice recorder… just record the whole thing, listen back to it later. Easy!

Prof. Not
Is it? Well, writing things down is probably more useful. It gives you a chance to ask for clarification. Now Mary, just jot down the important bits… I'll emphasise these bits in the lecture. I'll say something like 'this bit is useful to know…'.

Daniel
You won't need to write much then! What? It was a joke!

Prof. Not
Hmm. Yes, well. Now, write down what I say in your own words – although if I quote someone, make sure you write it down word-for-word. And use words, abbreviations, symbols or even pictures to summarise what I say. If you miss something, leave a gap in your notes, and get the information from me later. Does that help?

Mary
Perfectly.

Prof. Not
Remember to read through your notes after the lecture, and of course, anything you do miss you can find in my new book 'Funny Business'.

Narrator
That's been a useful lesson, hasn't it Mary? Note taking is an important skill to learn. If you're not sure where to start, ask for help using these phrases…

Could you say that again please?
You're going a bit too fast for me.
Have you any guidance about how to take notes?

And here's Professor Not's tips for taking notes…

Write down the important bits… I'll emphasise these bits in the lecture.
Write down what I say in your own words – although if I quote someone, make sure you write it down word-for-word.
Use words, abbreviations, symbols or even pictures to summarise what I say. If you miss something, leave a gap in your notes, and get the information from me later.
Remember to read through your notes after the lecture.

You can pick up a few more top tips for studying in the UK on our website at bbclearningenglish.com.  Now, let's find out how the note taking's going…

Prof. Not
So that's all for today… must dash, I've got a yoga class to go to. We can discuss this further in your tutorial.

Daniel
Oh no! Oh, I don't believe it.

Mary
Problem Daniel?

Daniel
The batteries on my voice recorder have run out… so annoying… I don't suppose…

Mary
Yes, you can copy my notes.

Daniel
Great. And maybe I could buy you a drink to say thank you.

Mary
Maybe, Daniel.

 

More

If you're studying abroad and need help with your English, we have lots to offer on our BBC Learning English website.

Look at this BBC guide to studying smartly. 

Look at this series about academic listening.

In the next episode

Mary needs some persuading to relax and enjoy herself with some extracurricular activities. Someone who knows most about doing that is her roommate, Abi! What is she going to suggest?

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