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Copyright © 1984 Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics, Inc.

Many students initially find the innovative Evelyn Wood techniques for note-taking—like the slash recall—somewhat awkward or formidable. But as you'll see, a recall pattern is really the best way to take notes. Granted, it's necessary to master a few simple techniques for drawing these patterns. With just a little practice, however, this form of note-taking will become easier, and more efficient and useful, than your old way of operating.

Drawing a recall pattern. A recall pattern may first be formulated immediately after the overview. But often, especially with difficult nonfiction texts, the student will wait until after the first preview of a book, chapter, or article to take notes. Here are some pointers.

After you've completed a preview, draw or create the basic structure and record initial entry of topics on a recall pattern in pencil. This way, you can erase preliminary information that later turns out to be inappropriate or incorrect.

Many students find that it's best to include a recall pattern for both the introduction and conclusion in each chapter. This can be done on a separate sheet of paper, or may be treated as one branch of the entire chapter's recall pattern.

Try to use subheadings, boldface items and other highlighted segments of texts as a guide. Many times, the subheadings in a chapter will become the main branches of the recall pattern.

In general, keep your recall pattern entries short. Use keys words and phrases, but not complete sentences. You can't and shouldn't try to record everything you read. Rather, draft notes that will stimulate your growing memory of the subject.

Read the chapter. After reading, put the book aside and insert more supporting facts and concepts. If you can't remember a point, feel free to pick the book up and reread that uncertain section. But again, don't just copy what's in the book onto your recall pattern. Being able to transfer information into your notes without being glued to the text is an important part of the learning process.

Do not slow down your overviewing, previewing or reading just because you're drafting a recall. Move along at your fastest possible pace when you're going through the book or article. Then put it aside and again, as quickly as possible, make your recall pattern entries.

The overviewing-previewing-reading and the recall or note-taking are separate, but they are also part of the entire time you devote to study. You can deal with all these activities much more efficiently if you treat them as individual entities.

If you started your recall pattern during the overview, begin to finalize the general structure after the preview. This is the time to fill in some of the main ideas in your pattern, preferably in a contrasting color. The more vividly you picture the material on paper—and the more memorable you can make the linkage between concepts—the more likely you are to remember it later.

Again, when you jot down information at this stage, it's important to write from memory—don't just copy material from the book.

Continue to revise and add to your recall pattern during the final postview and review phases of study. In fact, you may decide during these stages that you want to redraw your recall pattern completely. That's perfectly acceptable because the more you work with the material—the more you get into it—the more likely you'll be to understand and remember what you've read.

What kind of pattern? The most useful recall patterns usually fall into one of five basic categories: slash, linear, radial, pictorial and random.

First, look at the following models and the comments on the first four of these patterns (excluding, for the moment, the random pattern). Then, we'll examine each of these types in more detail, and you can decide which one best fits your needs.

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Understanding Mind Control

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