College Note Taking Tips for Students


Accurately summarizing a lecture or class presentation is a true skill. Here are some tips on taking classroom and lecture notes that every student should know.


1. TAKING NOTES HELPS YOU CONCENTRATE DURING THE CLASS OR LECTURE: It’s less probable you’ll doze off if you’re writing at a good mental clip.

2. THE PROCESS STIMULATES RECALL: Reviewing your notes helps you relive the class or lecture, like instant replay. You can even visualize the play-by-play action.

3. EXAM QUESTIONS NOTORIOUSLY CENTER ON LECTURE NOTES: Participation is the name of the classroom game. If you can’t recall what was said, you really weren’t there.

4. YOUR NOTES MAY BE YOUR MAIN TEXTBOOK: Many course texts are supplemental to the lecturer’s presentation, and not the most important source of information for the course.


1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Read any assigned material prior to the lecture so you’ll be familiar with the topic. Trying to write out “Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language…” will put you way behind the speaker!

2. STAY ORGANIZED: Use a separate notebook for each course, with class dates and lecturer’s names entered before each session. A three-ring binder is useful for adding handouts.

3. SIT WHERE YOU CAN HEAR AND SEE: Wrong data is worse than no data. Record the lecture, if allowed, especially if the speaker’s native language is not yours.

4. ORGANIZE YOUR NOTES AND BE CONSISTENT: Add your own titles and subtitles to separate topics for easy reference later. Write down any key points the lecturer notes on a chalk or white board and highlight them in some way in your notes. (Even color-coding works!)

5. WRITE LEGIBLY: Don’t worry about sentence structure and grammar, but if you can’t read your own handwriting, the effort is wasted. And we won’t even consider trying to use another student’s notes – impossible!

6. FILL IN MISSING DATA: Try to meet with the lecturer as soon as the session is over to ask about any points you may have not understood clearly. If you wait too long, you both may forget what was said. Also, double-check the textbook to see if you can clarify/elaborate on your lecture notes.

7. COMPARE NOTES WITH A CLASSMATE: No two people take exactly the same notes. If you review notes with a classmate, you have the advantage of another’s perception and also another set of ears! This is especially helpful for exam review.


1. SKIP THE INTERNAL VOWELS: “grt tchr” is clearly “great teacher.”

2. DROP SMALL CONNECTING WORDS: is, was, were, for, the, a, would, be, of

3. ABBREVIATE: Make up your own shorthand system.


5. w/ = with; w/o = without; w/in = within

For more info click here: College Note Taking Tips for Students
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