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Journal on Note Taking Essay

Lecture notes play an important role in preparing for examinations, as it may ensure the success of students. Many students do not have adequate note-taking skills, and this contribute a lot to the creation of incomplete and unrelated notes (Kiewra, 2002). Researchers suggest that the act of note-taking can engage students in learning tasks and deepen their understanding and ability to apply new material (Katayama & Crooks, 2003). Note-taking offers three important premises for university students. First, the act of note-taking may have an influence on the encoding function of the brain, which engages the learner’s attention and subsequently moves the information into long-term memory. Secondly, note-taking will make the students less dependent on their instructor’s notes, as they contain personally meaningful information that might help in the recall process. Thirdly, it may help students with learning difficulties.

To begin with, note-taking is essential to the student’s academic success (Kiewra & Benton, 1988; Titsworth, 2001). In taking notes, students relate lecture topics to their own background knowledge, which in turn may increase their comprehension of the topic, and eventually synthesises with the recall of the material presented (Brazeau, 2006; Castello & Monereo, 2005; DiVesta & Gray, 1972).

It has been proven that students that are successful have a predisposition to go back to their lecture notes as an essential part of their preparation for examinations. This, therefore, point to one premise, as noted by Kiewra & Benton, 1988 and Titsworth, 2001, that it is very much essential for the academic success of students.

Such importance, however, reveals a negative side, which can be founded on the student’s inadequacy in inculcating adequate note-taking skills. This drawback often results in the student coming into possession of incomplete and unrelated notes (Kiewra, 2002). Observations reveal how in lecture settings, they record only between 11-70% of the important information delivered (Anderson & Armbruster, 1991; Kiewra, 1985). Such a dismal insight may validate presumption that students with learning difficulties be in worse position, when they record even less information (Boyle, 2007; Kirby, Silvesni, Allingham, Parrila, & La Pave, 2008; Suritsky & Hughes, 1991; Vogel, 1982).

These are the premise which makes note-taking a very important aspect of study life for university students, without which they may be staring at clear and present danger of failure.

To remedy this, it is essential for students with disabilities to be truthful to themselves and inform the authorities during the university admission stage. To this end, at least in the United States, such handicap would be addressed through the granting of accommodation under the law, i.e. the Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990 as well as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1973.

Such clauses as entrenched in the laws saw from 2003 to 2004, 11.3% of undergraduates in the U.S. in notifying of their disability or requirement for special learning (Katsiyannis, Zhang, Landmark, & Reber, 2009). For students in such categories, their lot would be made much easier through being allowed extra latitude on time during examinations, as well as do their tests distraction-free (Wilhelm, 2003). The idea that underscores this is to help make things easier for the capability-challenged students.

However, it has been noted that on paper this may be a good remedy, but since not all students would be honest about their inadequacies in learning, the exact number of students requiring is difficult to determine.

Although, at the elementary and secondary level different requirements are applied for different learning abilities, it has been found to be absent in higher education (Scott, McGuire & Shaw, 2003). Filling this necessary void at the university level may help a great deal in, which at the core is the inculcation of the all-important note-taking skills ((Einstein, Morris, & Smith, 1985; Gettinger & Seibert, 2002; Simmons, 2006; Suritsky & Hughes, 1991). Also, by addressing this, it may help lecturers to customise according to the needs of the different categories of learners.

The review in the journal shows the two phases, which reveals the ability in note taking among university students and the difficulties faced by students with disabilities and its link to proper note-taking.


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