Daily Practice Plan

Follow this plan to improve your note-taking. You will need to focus on your class content and notes before, during, and after each class.

Before Class

  • Become familiar with the day’s topic.
  • Complete assignments before class.
  • Review your previous notes.
  • Prepare a list of questions.
  • Arrive early and be ready when the lecture begins.

During Class

  • Know what form you are going to use to take notes. 
  • Concentrate on what is being said. Try not to let your mind wander!
  • Listen and think more than you write.
  • Look for cues to main ideas:
    • titles
    • topic sentences
    • transition expressions
    • repetitions
    • voice reflections
    • gestures
    • summaries
  • Focus on writing the main ideas and key points.
  • Use abbreviations so you can be sure to get everything down.
  • If available, follow the syllabus or course outline.
  • If the lecture is not well organized, put down all main points and reorganize later.
  • If a point is missed, leave a blank space and get it later from another student or from the instructor.

After Class

  • Go back through your notes and rewrite them adding relevant details.
  • If you left spaces for missed details, fill them in or ask a classmate or instructor for help.
  • Highlight, underline, and use checkmarks (sparingly) to signify important areas.


  • Review previous day’s notes.
  • Study today’s lesson, text, or readings.
  • Look ahead to the next lecture -- note main topics or headings, subheadings, charts, tables, illustrations, etc.

5+5 Note-taking Strategy

5+5 Strategy

Try this simple “5 + 5” note-taking strategy. 10 minutes a day is all it takes to jump-start your note-taking.