How do you take notes during listening comprehension?

I’m ok with long or short passages with 1 question because in those situations I don’t need to take notes. My issue is when there’s a long conversation with multiple questions. For my university tests there’ll be a long conversation with multiple questions in English that need to be answered in English, normally a sentence at least. Each conversation only gets played twice and the first time is not enough to catch everything. I can understand what is said, but can’t remember accurately enough to answer all the questions without any notes.

The listening practice we do in class is much shorter and easier so I don’t really get a chance to practice something similar outside the exams. When there’s questions like this, I’m always conflicted:
Should I try to answer each question as it comes up? Should I just listen to the whole thing the first time and write nothing/try to memorize it? Should I take notes on it in English or Japanese? A mix of both? Should I try to transcribe the whole conversation and then answer the questions later?

The fact that I get confused like this means I get distracted from what I’m listening to and the questions I need to actually answer. The note-taking is disrupting my comprehension instead of helping it. The problem is I feel like writing in Japanese is too slow, especially with kanji, but English means I have to translate before I write and that’s slow too. I usually end up with some weird combination of hiragana and abbreviations in English. If I don’t figure out a good method soon, I know it’ll become an issue in class next year or in future JLPT levels.

This was my first time taking the JLPT so I’m not exactly an expert, but this is just my experience with the note taking.

For the questions where they had the choices listed in the test booklet, I would write a slash next to any answer that couldn’t be true based on something I heard. When I did take notes, I would write them in English because my Japanese handwriting is horrendously slow. It was very difficult to try and write down what was being said, but I usually was able to at least write down the question (put into English).

The moment you start writing, your attention is divided. As humans we aren’t very good at multitasking so you’ll tend to find one activity will take precedence. If you are listening to a native language than your brain needs to do much less to comprehend what is being said, it can come in and out of concentration and be able to use context to fill in any blanks you may have. So taking notes in your native language can still be a challenge but is still very achievable, especially if you make the notes very concise.

As for trying it in Japanese. I don’t know your level so some of this might not be relevant. You probably need your full concentration in order to understand what is being said, using contextual clues might not be enough and the language itself makes this far more difficult thanks to being very vague. In your mind you are probably translating the sentence into English which is adding another step getting in the way of understanding.

If you want to write during it, know you are making it very hard on yourself, especially if you want to write in Japanese. If you were to write in Japanese then chances are you are translating what is being said into english, then making it more concise and then translating back into Japanese. After that you probably haven’t got the motor skills to write Japanese without physical thought. So you are trying to do all of this in real time while also trying to listen and comprehend. You can remove a few steps if you want to write in English but it’ll still be quite a bit.

Basically it is up to you what you do, if you think you can manage. Then give it some practice, see how you go. Just know that things everything is working against you. If you can’t get it, take notes afterwards and try look up different note taking methods, lots are around.

P.S I never finished but I studied education for 3 years so I do know a little about what I am talking about there.

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I would write extreme short-hand notes in whatever language you can write the fastest in. Not even coherent sentences imo. For example, if the discussion was about what mode of transport X was going to take to get to Y. I might write:

X’s car → no lent to bro → A’s car → maybe → Bus & walk? → too far → nvm, back to A’s car

This is probably more coherent than I would actually write down. Given your exam isn’t multiple choice it’s a lot harder than JLPT where you can just cross out the answers as you hear info that confirms it’s wrong.

Anyways, I used this approach when we used to do French listening tests in school, so maybe it will work?

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I don’t take notes but I do do one thing:

Before each “listening” I read the statements that I’m supposed to check. It kind of helps me focusing on the informations given by the audio. I also focus a lot on what is said and imagine it so it’s more vivid and sticks.
Reading the statements before prevents you from getting lost when there’s too much info in the audio, regardless of how good you’re at memorizing stuff.
I distinctly remember this wheather forecast audio that was packed with a shitload of information and the questions were like “where will it be 60°F on tuesday?” or “which phenomenom will hit los angeles friday in the morning?”
I was like: dude wtf?

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