How to annotate

1. Start with the end in mind

2. Make it a reading habit to automatically annotate what is relevant the first time you read the text – as opposed to reading everything 2x before you start annotating. you don’t have time for double work and etc: Think about the exam conditions. Annotating MUST save you time – so you don’t need to read and  re-read and re-read the same text again later on.

This is linked to point 1: Begin With End in Mind. Some annotate every single thing and the whole text later looks like United Nations full of colours and symbols from all over the world – in the end it looks so confusing and its more difficult to process the information to answer qns. It should be CONCISE, RELEVANT, FOCUSED on helping ans Qns.

Do not spend too much time on annotation.

At the end of annotations – you should have what you need to develop paragraphs to grab marks from most of the questions in the structured questions. You should NOT need to re-read the extracts because the key ideas have already been annotated at the sides. That’s when your post reading task (answering questions) becomes easier and faster.

For those annotating lecture notes or suggested answers from revision packs / model answers – you may consider annotate the notes with Causal Links – because those analysis is what brings your scores up very quickly. As you annotate those ideas – you are processing the links in your brain and that helps your learning, much much more than just reading and staring at the text. Annotating is a way you physically interact with the text, it’s a record of your thinking. The more you think, the better your brain will get at thinking.

When starting annotations with students, here is what every teacher should make sure their students understand:

1) Annotations are a record of your thinking. If you’re thinking, make a record of it by writing down what scuttled through your brain.

2) Annotations make remembering your thoughts much easier. In fact, you don’t even have to remember what you thought — the paper will remember for you!

3) The act of annotating is a physical interaction with the text. Because you’re interacting with the text with both your hands and your eyes, the multisensory experience makes a much stronger imprint on your mind.

4) Annotation is appropriate for ANY subject. It’s not just an English class skill, it’s a reading skill – and reading happens in every course.

Write phrases, not full sentences

Only log the key terms you need to get an understanding of the point. Ignore terms like “the” and “a” that don’t add any extra significance to the material of the lecture. Maintain main technical terminology or discipline-specific terms.

Paraphrase your words

It makes sense for you to paraphrase what you hear—it helps you understand and remember what you hear. Try to paraphrase everything but where the detail needs to be correct.

Structure your notes with headers, subheaders and numbered lists.

Use the headings to denote the subject areas or to provide bibliographic descriptions of the sources of material. Use the outline type and/or counting and indenting method to help you differentiate major from minor points and as a simple way to show the layout of the lecture material.

Code your notes

Often, “annotations” means a lot more than simply highlighting. It’s a dynamic way to communicate with the text. Use colour and symbols to mark structure and emphasis.

Using color to illustrate important components, focal points and diagrams. You may also use different colors to identify and connect concepts or knowledge by topic. However, when you’re in the lesson, don’t dwell too much on color coding. It takes patience and focus, but it’s more useful to make the most of the highlights and highlights while you’re analyzing your notes later.

Underline, circle, star, to define key facts, illustrations, meanings, or other essential content. Create your own marking code to indicate each form. If you are using computer to take notes some of shortcuts may be handy for including stars and pointers, you may want to try pressing and holding the ALT key and type the number 9733 or 9734 to make star symbol for Microsoft words.

If you forget something, write keywords, skip a couple of spaces, and get the details later. Leave space for your own notes and suggestions on the tab.

Lastly, do not forget to revise your annotated notes.

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