Effective Note Taking

Why taking good lecture notes is important and how to do it.

Note taking may seem like a straight forward thing to do, but often the difference between passing a class and excelling in a class comes down to how effective you are at taking notes. Below are some proven tips that will help you take your notes to the next level.
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  • Summarizing the teacher's ideas in your own words makes it easier to retain the information.
  • You can come up with questions about the lecture to ask the professor at a later time for further clarification.
  • It allows you to add extra information that was not on the PowerPoint or a handout but is discussed in class.
  • Note taking helps you focus on the important points of a discussion and focuses your attention on the subject.
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  • Print a copy of the slides so you can add additional notes.
  • Create an outline, use abbreviations and make your notes brief.
  • Write the date, time and heading describing the contents so you can refer back to it.
  • Translate complex ideas into your own words.
  • Highlight or circle concepts emphasized by the professor.
  • Review notes the same day to make sure they are correct and to help you absorb the material more efficiently.
Effective note taking is a learned skill that can only improve with practice. If you work on introducing some of these ideas listed above, you will soon notice yourself absorbing more of the material.