How to Improve Your Note-Taking Using Shorthand Writing

If you’ve ever caught yourself staring at a test question and wondering why in the world you should know the answer, the chances are that the necessary information just wasn’t in your notes. Perhaps, then you realize that some of your classmates have in place their notes so the question wasn’t a problem for them. Shorthand writing implies using specific symbols and abbreviations for common words. Writing experts from Writers House prepared this article for you so that you can learn more about this effective method.

Many students face such an issue because not everyone knows how to take notes effectively. You need to write fast and to stay concentrated during the whole lecture. In addition, college lectures are usually much longer than those in high school and contain more details. A good method of note-taking that can help you overcome these difficulties is shorthand writing.

A Little Bit of History

The idea of using shortcuts in writing is nothing new. Historians found out that Greek students have been using various shorthand techniques even in the 4th century BC. Ancient Egyptians also had two writing systems: the Hieratic and Demotic. The latter enabled them to avoid complex hieroglyphics and write faster.

Gregg Shorthand

Gregg is an efficient and fast writing method. Letters that we use all the time, take some time to write. For example, to write the letter “p,” you have to make two moves (the downward stroke and the loop), and then lift your hand to write the next letter. Gregg shorthand relies on much simpler symbols. Consonants look like straight lines or shallow curves, while vowels look like small hooks and loops. Another reason why Gregg is simpler is that it’s a phonetic system. For instance, the word “day” can be written as “da.” Thus, you have fewer letters to write and they are much simpler so you can write faster.

Shorthand Writing: Tips

To use shorthand writing effectively, you need to practice a lot.

  • Write down a list of words that you use most often and make shortcuts.
  • Find the most common terms in your textbook and create shortcuts for them.
  • For instance, if you study literature, such words as “figure of speech” (‘fos’), “character” (‘ch’), “allusion” (‘allu’), and “allegory” (‘alg’) may be the most common terms.
  • At the beginning of the term, practice your shorthand writing and familiarize yourself with new information. Choose any interesting passages and write them in shorthand.
  • Find a study buddy who will read passages aloud and write them in shorthand to imitate the real experience during a lecture.
  • Work on your writing speed and try to write as fast as you can.

Sample Shortcuts

amount, number no.
shock, alarm, surprise !
increasing, bigger, greater +
at, around, about @
why, who, where, what, when ?
results rts
before bf
response resp
because bc
across, between X

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