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Jessie Ball duPont Library

Paranoid about Plagiarism?

Learning the SQ3R Method - Document Notes

Watch this video to learn the SQ3R (Survey or Skim, QuestionReadReciteReview) active reading strategy.  Using SQ3R will help you to better learn and remember the things that you read for class. 


Cornell Method - Lecture Notes

This is a widely used method of taking notes. Before the lecture divide your page into four sections. You may like to prepare a number of pages in a note book, or use this template on every second page of a note book leaving space to write additional notes after the lecture.

Layout of Cornell Note taking template

Lecture Details: Course             Date                                  Topic

Recall column


Key words





Notes column

Write your lecture notes here:-

  • main ideas, information, examples
  • write in point form and short sentences
  • use symbols and abbreviations
  • add diagrams and drawings

Record your own thoughts and questions



After the lecture review your notes and write a short summary in your own words.


Cornell Method - How-To Video

Try the Cornell Method of annotating to organize your notes and thoughts as you go.



Skimming is a skill that you should use only in certain situations, such as:

  • Studying for a test
  • Clarifying notes
  • Writing a paper

When you start skimming, make sure to read the introduction, conclusion, and any summaries you might find.  Many times the authors will briefly discuss the key points that they want to make in those particular sections.  Also, be on the lookout for signal words.  These can alert you to other important information you can use.  Below is a chart showing you different types of signal words.

  • Examples - specifically, for example/instance, to illustrate, etc.
  • Cause & Effect - consequently, as a result, accordingly, hence, etc.
  • Enumeration - first, second, etc.
  • Contrast - on the other hand, however, despite, etc.
  • Comparison - likewise, similarly, identical, etc.


Many students like to make notes and marks in their textbooks while reading.  This is an excellent way to stay focused on and engaged with the material.  Here are a couple of tips to help you: Read the material first, and then go back and mark it, mark only main ideas and supporting details, use a consistent marking method (ex. highlight main ideas, underline supporting details)

Here is a list of annotation marks you can use:

  • Definitions - def.
  • Examples - ex.
  • Numbering - 1,2,3, etc.
  • Important Info - *
  • Confusing Material - ?
  • Possible Test Items - T
  • Summary Statements - sum.