Chapter Activities – Listening, Taking Notes, and Remembering

Chapter Takeaways


  • Learning involves following a cycle of preparing, absorbing, recording, and reviewing.
  • The most important difference between high school learning and college learning is that colleges expect you to take full responsibility for your learning. Many of the support mechanisms you had in high school do not exist in college.
  • Listening takes place in two primary situations: where there can be open interaction with the speaker (social conversation, small group discussions, business meetings, and small classes) and where there is limited interaction with the speaker (lectures, online courses, and podcasts).
  • In situations where interaction is allowed, active listening principles work well.
  • In lecture situations, additional strategies are required. They include physical preparation, seating for listening, eliminating distractions, thinking critically about the material as it is presented, taking notes, and asking appropriate questions.
  • Prepare for listening by completing all assignments for the class and reviewing the syllabus. Ask yourself what you expect to gain from the class and how that ties in to the rest of the course material.
  • Think critically about what you are listening to. Do you agree with what the instructor is saying? How does it tie to the rest of the material in the course? What does this new material mean to you in “real” life?

Note Taking

  • There are four primary ways of taking notes (lists, outlines, concept maps, and the Cornell method).
  • Select the note-taking method that best serves your learning style and the instructor’s teaching style. Remember that methods may be combined for maximum effect.
  • Completing assignments and reviewing the syllabus can help you define the relative importance of the ideas the instructor presents.
  • Don’t expect to capture everything the instructor says. Look for keywords and central ideas.
  • Anything the instructor writes on the board is likely to be important.
  • Review your notes as soon as possible after the class, to annotate, correct, complete, and summarize.


  • The two types of memory are short-term memory, which allows you to apply knowledge to a specific task, and long-term memory, which allows you to store and recall information.
  • The brain commits information to long-term memory by creating an intricate system of links to that information. Strength, number, and variety of links all lead to better recall.
  • To create strong links, start by making a conscious decision to want to commit something specific to memory. Link the information to real life and other data from the course. Group like information into “buckets” that create links among the terms you want to remember.
  • Use the information. The more you use the information, the more you will activate the links in your brain.
  • Eliminate distractions. Every time you are diverted from your task, you need to reboot your short-term memory, weakening the links.

Chapter Review

  1. Describe the four steps of active listening.
  2. How is listening defined?
  3. List three things you should do to prepare to listen in class.
  4. Where should you sit in a class? Why?
  5. What should you do with your notes soon after each class?
  6. Why do you think the Cornell method of note taking is recommended by so many colleges?
  7. How do short-term and long-term memory differ?
  8. List three ways in which you can create links to help remember ideas.
  9. Why is multitasking dangerous to memorization?
  10. What is a mnemonic?

Make an Action List

Two things I will do to improve Action By when I expect to take the action How I will know I accomplished the action
My listening 1.
My note taking 1.
My memory 1.