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Skeleton Notes

Author: Pencil Case  Date: 22 August 2019

Build the skeleton = Quality notes

Skeleton notes involves writing down key words from a class or lecture. This way you mind is free to think and you still record the flow of the information.

Step 1 - Taking The Skeleton

The skeleton in note taking is the first stage. What you do is you look at the over head slide projection or you listen to what the presenter is saying. On your page, you only write key word sub headings or items that are unique and unlikely to be found again. Often a teacher will say "this is not in your text book" or "here is something interesting"! As soon as you hear a phrase like that it pays to write everything down word for word but for the rest of the time just write keywords.


Biology Notes Using Key Words (Skeleton):

Topic: Photosynthesis


Raw Materials

-Carbon Dioxide:



Extra: Photosynthesis will be heavily assessed throughout the year.

You can see that I have written very little, and that what you see above is what I will take home with me. I have spent my entire time in class concentrating on what the teacher is saying, running over it in my mind and generally putting active learning principles into practice. The only thing I did write was the fact that photosynthesis is going to be assessed over and over again throughout the year. Very important!

Step 2 - Reviewing and filling in the gaps

Step 2 is where your text book comes in really handy. Because we want to review what we have learnt within 24 hours of first learning it in class we are going to go home and use our skeleton notes as an aid to review. First you want to test yourself on what you remember from the class. Look at your keywords from your skeleton notes and see if you can remember why you wrote that word. If you can't remember, get out your text book or go online and fill in the gaps in your notes. In our biology example, the text book will definitely have the definition of photosynthesis ready to plonk into our skeleton notes. The best idea is not to just copy it over but to use active learning. Look at the definition in the text book and see if you can say it perfectly out loud without reading it. When you are ready, transfer this information to your skeleton notes from your memory not from the text book. If you can do this it means you have learnt it a second time and you're well on your way to storing it in long term memory.


In this example you can see that that I have filled in the gaps.

Biology Notes Using Key Words (Skeleton):


Definition: The way that plants use the energy of the sun to combine water and carbon dioxide to produce a food source.

Raw Materials

-Carbon Dioxide: Absorbed from the air through the leaves of the plant. Provides the carbon to produce glucose.

-Water: Absorbed from the ground through the roots. Provides the hydrogen and the oxygen needed to produce glucose.

-Sunlight: Absorbed from sunlight through the leaves. Provides the energy needed to produce glucose.

Extra: Photosynthesis will be heavily assessed throughout the year.

Advanced tip:

Take a photo on your phone of your skeleton notes before you fill them in. This will become an excellent review tool. Once a week, look at the photo and see if you can remember what information would go with each keyword. Study the things you can't remember.

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