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Version 3f

Home > Resources > Top 10 Notetaking Tips

Top 10 Notetaking Tips

1. Prepare

Read in advance; familiarize yourself with key concepts and vocabulary; review your notes from preceding lectures

2. Sit Front and Center
Position yourself in the professor’s line of vision, where you can see and hear as well as possible.

3. Listen Actively
Go to class intending to listen. If your mind starts to wander, look at this as an opportunity to re-focus your attention and bring your mind back to the "here and now".

4. Listen for Cues and Key Words
Cues and key words help distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information.

e.g. "essential", "in conclusion"


Voice inflections and loudness also help indicate the relative importance of the information.

5. Be Critical of Content, NOT Delivery
No matter how professors present the information it is important for you to avoid thinking about how they are presenting the information and to focus on what is being said. Listen to the message not the messenger!

6. Be Flexible
You need to be flexible enough to adjust to follow the lecturer regardless of the direction taken. This includes having a positive attitude and the ability to cope with tangents.

7. Record
* Number, title, and date each page.
* When unsure of a word, leave it blank and fill it later.
* Use lots of white space.
* Mark points of emphasis.
* Develop a shorthand system.
* Use colored pens.

8. Edit and Add to the Notes Soon After Class
Edit notes as soon as possible after the lecture, preferably the same day. Correct errors, fill in blanks. Mark key words and concepts. Summarize and re-organize where appropriate.

9. Compare Notes
Compare notes with a classmate soon after class to see if you missed any important points.

10. Review
Review notes regularly.

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