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.
- 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.
- 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:
- topic sentences
- transition expressions
- voice reflections
- 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.
- 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.