Why Take Notes?
Notetaking provides several benefits beyond that record of what was presented in a lecture or class activity. Effective notetaking:
Keeps you alert. Notetaking keeps your body active and involved and helps you avoid feelings of drowsiness or distraction.
Engages your mind. Listening carefully and deciding what to include in notes keeps your mind actively involved with what you hear.
Emphasizes and organizes information. As you take notes, you’ll decide on and highlight the key ideas you hear, identifying the structure of a class presentation. You’ll also be able to indicate the supporting points of a presentation, making study and understanding easier after class. Such organized notes also make it easier for you to link classroom learning to textbook readings.
Creates a condensed record for study. A set of concise, well-organized notes from each class session gives you what you need for study, learning, and review after class.
What Are Good Notes?
Although different strategies work for different people, efficient note-taking strategies share some common features. Good notes:
- Include meaningful abbreviations and symbols
- Capture both main ideas and important details
- May include definitions, an outline, bullet points, diagrams, etc.
There's no one good way to take notes—knowing what works best for you in different situations will make your studying more effective.
Create Notes You Will Use
Overall, good notes are not necessarily very detailed or very brief—the main thing to remember is that good notes are notes you can use!
Tips and Strategies
- Take selective notes: pick out main ideas and concepts.
- Write using a laptop or notebook, whatever is best for you.
- Write in your own words not exactly what the teacher is saying.
- Review notes immediately after class.
- First try to understand what is being said and then write the ideas down.