Note-Taking Strategies

Taking notes from a lecture can sometimes seem like a complicated process, but here are a few hints to make it easier. It is important to organize your notes from the beginning, as they will eventually become part of your study guide. You can also sign up for a note-taking workshop here

Transform your notebook paper into a class lecture report form (pdf). Draw a vertical line dividing your paper into two columns, use one column for questions and one column for notes. Note: You may also use 3x5 index cards to make your summary questions. 

Steps for Successful Note-Taking
  1. Arrive a few minutes early to class, so you have time to get prepared and quickly review the notes from the previous class lecture.
  2. Sit toward the front and center of the room. This will help you to stay alert, and may even help with your class participation grade.
  3. Avoid writing down everything that is said word-for-word. Try to put the professor's ideas down in your own words.
  4. Develop a key of symbols or abbreviations that you will use in note-taking to speed up the process.
  5. Use symbols, circled words, or capital letters to highlight your ideas for quick reference.
  6. Attempt to learn how the professor indicates important information by voice tone, nonverbals, writing points on the board, etc.
  7. Review your notes and write the summary points in the left-hand column of your page. Do this as soon as you are able after class.