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Notetaking techniques: Using abbreviations

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When you make quick notes, it helps if you can use a shorthand way of writing things down, and most students adopt their own set of familiar abbreviations. It is quite useful to shorten any frequently used words, and some common examples are given below.

Longhand Shorthand
education ed
research R
social construction soc-con
diversity div
ecology eco

There are also some commonly used symbols that are quick and easy to remember. You might even come up with a few of your own.

Symbol Meaning
ampersand and
equals equals
approximately approximately
plus plus (or it could mean also)
less than less than or smaller than, or less important than
greater than greater than or more than, or more important than
question mark question mark - a good way to remind yourself to ask about something or look up this point later on
at at
female woman or female
male man or male
therefore therefore
less than or equal to less than or equal to….
greater than or equal to greater than or equal to….
percent percent


Download Using abbreviations (RTF, 116.01 KB) for a copy of the table of symbols and keep it handy for reference.

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