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Version 3d

Home > Resources > Taking Notes

Taking Notes

Importance of taking notes:

Learning how to take good notes in class is an important part of study preparation. The information provided and topics covered by your instructors are what you will be studying. If you don’t take good notes in class you won’t know what to study once class is over.

BEFORE the Lecture:

Check syllabus for topic of lecture and corresponding chapter in text to be read

Review your notes from your previous class - your instructor will build on the previous lesson.

Complete all reading assignments - Read and/or outline the chapter before going to lecture - so you will have a better understanding of the new concepts that will be introduced.

When arriving at class, choose a seat close to the front

Make sure you have enough notepaper, pen and/or pencils for taking notes.

When arriving at class (early), choose a seat close to the front - be sure that you can hear the presentation.

Take Effective Notes DURING Class:

Make sure to stay focused. Paying attention to what your teacher is saying is essential to taking good notes in class.

You want to include all the important information in your notes but you don’t want to write down every sing word. If you try to write down everything your teacher says you’re sure to miss important concepts.

Listen for “signal statements” such as “The most important point…”, “Don’t forget that…”, “Remember that…”, or “The test will include…”. When you hear these statements you’ll know that to start writing.

Copy what's on the board.

Write down anything that is repeated several times.

Correctly record dates, names, etc.

Keep notes readable (Don’t crowd, use only one side, leave room at left for questions, topics, definitions, and additional information)

Organize notes in an outline form with distinguishing topics as well as labeling each page with name, date, class, topic

Make sure to write quickly so that you can cover all the important topics in your notes. You may also consider abbreviating certain words in order to save time.

If you get behind or don’t understand a concept make a mark (?) on your paper to remind you to come back and review the subject in more detail but keep taking notes and keep up with the pace of your teacher.

3 Main methods of Taking Notes

Outline Method - most common used
Concept Method
Cornell Method

AFTER Class: "Rewrite and Review Your Notes"

Rewriting and Review your notes after each a class as soon as possible is the final step to taking effective notes.

Rewriting your notes will give you the opportunity review concepts the were difficult to understand while they’re still fresh in your mind, change abbreviated works into complete words, and answer questions you had during class.

Use your text book or other resources to fill in the blanks or questions that you had during the class period.

Check the lecture against the outline of the corresponding text chapter; if some material wasn’t covered, find out why

Check with the instructor or other students to see that you did not miss anything important.

Circle assignments, references given during the lecture

Writing effective notes will help you better prepare for tests and learn more in the process.

Top 10 Notetaking Tips

More Tips

Wikipedia: Notetaking

Content developed for the the SOS Workshop: Taking Notes in College by Kalani Fujiwara with additional material added by SOS Coordinator.

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