Before class

  • Complete readings and assignments before class to help identify main concepts that likely will be discussed during the lecture.
  • Consider preparing a list of questions. Listening for answers to your questions can help you actively engage with the lecture. 
  • Look at the course syllabus to help identify the focus of the lecture.
  • Arrive early and review your notes from the previous class. A quick review helps with concept retention and current lecture preparation.
  • Know what note taking form you are going to use. Be consistent with your note structure.

During class

  • Concentrate on what is being said. Listen and think more than you write. Participate in class discussions.
  • Focus on writing the main ideas and key points. Listen for cues to main ideas such as transition expressions, repetitions, voice reflections, gestures, or summaries.
  • Use abbreviations to help capture all key points.
  • Note questions you have that you want to follow-up on later.
  • Leave a blank space in your notes if you missed information. You and get it later from another student or from the instructor.

After class

  • Review your notes and rewrite them adding relevant details.
  • Ask a classmate or the instructor for help if you missed details.
  • Highlight, underline, and use checkmarks (sparingly) to signify important areas.