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Honors Biology-Dr. Langdon
Framingham High School

email:  rlangdon@framingham.k12.ma.us
voicemail extension: 27627 (email preferred)
Course Guidelines in Word or PDF Format

Taking Notes in Class

Taking notes is very important in this class.  We do not rely on a textbook in Honors Biology, so nearly all of the material you will be held responsible for will be taught through lectures.  Taking good notes that you can study from later is essential for success.  Below are some general hints on note taking.  More detailed information, and three different styles of note taking, is found in the Honors Biology Study Skills booklet.  It is important to understand that taking notes is unique to each student.  Not every hint on this list or piece of advice from others will help you.  One of the most important things you can take from this course is perfecting the style that works for you .

Some general hints...

  • Using a three-ring binder and loose-leaf paper is better than a spiral-bound notebook.  With a binder, you can add and remove pages, rearrange the notes, and insert handouts in the correct place. 

  • Many science and math students have found that using quadrille paper (graph paper) is better than notebook paper because it is easier to make tables, charts, and graphs.

  • Specialized layouts of notebook pages, like the Cornell layout, can be helpful in organizing your notes. Instructions for using this type of page are in the Study Skills Booklet.  Templates for the Cornell page layout for lined and graph paper pages can be downloaded.

  • The fewer the words you use, the better.  Never use a sentence when a phrase will do, and never use a phrase when a word will do.  Do not copy down verbatim what the teacher says or writes, always paraphrase.

  • Use abbreviations.  Never write out common words like with or and, but use marks like w/ and +.  If you are repeating a word, like mitochondria, over and over, abbreviated it as m.  You can always replace the abbreviation with the full word when you go over your notes later.

  • Leave empty space in your notebook, like a big margin on the side and blank lines after a topic.  This will let you fill in parts you may have missed or were unclear.

  • In science and math classes, always include the example problems, experiments, and cases.  Do this even if they seem obvious or easy at the time--they may not be so clear months later when you are preparing for the final.

  • Pay attention to the teacher for clues to what is important.  In science and math, it is often a good idea to write down anything the teacher writes on the board, overhead, or in a PowerPoint.  Also listen for cues like "This is important", "You'll see this again", or Write this down."

  • Just as important as taking notes is reviewing that night at home.  Read over your notes, and fix any areas that are unclear, that are wrong, or are badly written.  Make a note of any areas that you do not understand.

Quick Links

Cornell notes lined paper page template (PDF) 

Cornell notes graph paper page template (PDF)

Studying for Exams page

Download a helpful Honors Biology Study Skills booklet (PDF)  Large File: 1 MB

Study aid links:

SparkNotesĀ® SAT Subject Test in Biology Review Site

Quizlet- a website that allows you to create online flashcard sets you can share with your friends.