How To Abbreviate for More Effective Note-Taking

Sometimes it can be difficult to take notes when your professor’s lectures are fast paced. Check out these tips to help you take notes more quickly!

Utilize Symbols

Don’t even worry about using an actual  word! These symbols are easier to write and can help you identify important material in your notes at a glance.

= equal
* important
> greater than
** very important
< less than
& and
# number
$ cost, money
w/ with
w/o with out
vs versus, against
( ), { }, [ ] = information that belongs together

Don’t Worry About Punctuation

No one else is going to read your notes so don’t worry about making sure they are perfect. Sometimes is best to simply jot down a quick abbreviation. Some examples are below:

cf = compare
eg = for example
dept = department
NYC = New York City
mx = maximum
mn = minimum

Shorten Your Words

It is easy to read notes when words are shortened or even omit letters. You will be able to comprehend your notes easily if you write down the first syllable of a word, or even if you omit vowels. See examples below:

Use the first syllable and only the first letter of the second

subj = subject
cons = conservative

Omit vowels from the middle of words

bkgrd = background
pprd = prepared
estmt = estimate
gov = governor
rdng = reading
orgnsm = organism

Use apostrophes

gov’t = government
am’t = amount
cont’d = continued

Adapted from: Pauk, W. (1984). How to study in college. Boston: Houghton Miffin Company

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons

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