Note-taking in class

It can be challenging to capture every concept presented in a class lecture, but that is ok. Part of good note-taking involves reviewing your notes after class and filling in any missing information.

Tips for better notes

  • Personalize by taking notes in your own words
  • Condense and paraphrase what you hear
  • Abbreviate commonly used words or phrases
  • Relate by making note of relationships between content from lectures or readings
  • Write questions for additional thought, discussion, or research
  • Leave blank spaces for filling in missing details later
  • Omit content such as anecdotes
  • Copy important names, dates, and formulas exactly as written
  • React by including your own thoughts [in brackets] so as not to confuse them with lecturer’s viewpoints

Listening for key information

Learning to identify the cues an instructor may use to emphasize key information can improve the quality of your notes.

Tips for identifying key information

  • Slowing down at certain points or talking louder
  • Repeating particular points
  • Telling you straight out what is important or might make a good test question
  • Giving you a set of objectives
  • Writing information on the board or overhead
  • Referring to specific pages in a textbook
  • Using phrases, such as:
    • a key point, prominent feature, or central idea about this is
    • a critical step in this process is
    • a major cause was
    • an outstanding example of this is
    • in summary