How to take Notes

and improve your academic progress
Students who take great notes and use them
effectively, retain more information, receive
higher test scores and better grades.
Students can forget up to half of the
information from a class lecture when they do
not review their notes soon after class.
Consider the following tips to help you take
more effective notes.
Sit up front or away from distractions
Write your notes clearly and neatly
Ask questions if you do not understand
Review your notes soon after taking them
Compare notes with others
Start each set of notes on a new page
At the top, write the course name, date, topic
Include page numbers, to keep notes in order
If you are taking reading notes, include page
numbers in your notes from passages or
Keep a separate notebook for each class
Keep class notes and reading notes for each
class together in a folder or binder
Organize your notes so it is easy to find them
to review each week
Review notes each day or at least each week
Neaten up messy handwriting
Fill in blanks if you missed something
Add detail to anything that might be unclear
Underline or highlight important points or
important terms
Getting your notes in good shape while
they’re fresh in your mind is your best chance
for understanding and remembering them.
Review your notes soon after you take notes to
help reinforce what you have learned.
Review soon after class, on the same day, when
the lecture is still fresh in your mind.
You may want to review with a study partner or
study group and compare notes.
Remember, reviewing is not just re-reading your
notes. Make it meaningful to you.
The more ways you work with information,
the better you'll know it and remember it.
Summarize points in your own words
Quiz yourself
Try to predict test questions
Recite answers aloud if possible
Map or chart, to think about how all the
information relates
Record: Write down the meaningful facts and
ideas, writing legibly
Reduce: Summarize the facts and ideas to clarify
meaning and relationships, this helps with memory
Recite: Cover your notes, and try to recall the facts
and ideas, make it meaningful to you
Reflect: re-examine your notes throughout the
semester, relating previous info with new info
Review: spend just a few minutes each week
reviewing notes to improve memory and ensure
success on exams
Taking Reading Notes
Complete reading assignments on time.
While reading, write down key facts to help
prepare for class.
While reading, write down any questions or
thoughts you may have, and note anything
that your don’t understand.
Share your questions and comments in class,
or see the teacher before or after class.
While reading, highlight just the key words,
main points, names (if highlighting is
permitted in your book or materials).
Skim: identify purpose, focus on key terms,
words in bold or italics, and summaries, look
at pictures and graphics, read captions.
Read a section at a time: look for main points
and supporting statements, important facts,
dates, names, lists. Write down any questions
that come up.
Review: Take what you have read and
summarize it in your own words, explain to
yourself what graphics show, answer your
study questions, and quiz yourself.
S = Survey
◦ Read the title, the introduction, and headings
◦ Look at graphics and captions
◦ Read the conclusion or summary
Q = Question
◦ Based on the title or heading, write a question using
who, what, when, why, or how.
The 4 Rs: Read, Recite, Record, Review
◦ Read the entire selection. As you read, look for
answers to your questions
◦ Reciting helps you remember what you read. After
each section, recite the answer to your question
aloud and in your own words
◦ Record the information you’ll need to know. Write
down the answers to your questions and any
important information
◦ Review the whole reading, reread your notes, or
redo them in another form. Quiz yourself. Review
your notes later on, to help you remember.
Taking Class Notes
Being present and participating in class helps
you get the most out of class time.
Arrive on time and stay the whole time
◦ Don’t arrive late or leave early
Actively listening and taking notes helps you
stay more interested, remember more, and
study for tests more effectively.
Avoid distractions
◦ Sit near the front, or near the instructor
◦ Turn off your cell phone, and other electronics
Interact with the material and the teacher
◦ Make a notation if you have a question or comment
◦ Ask questions or share thoughts
◦ Ask teachers to clarify, or pause if you need more
time to finish writing notes.
Listen to everything, but don’t write down
Write down main ideas
Write down important facts and details
Look for clues from the teacher:
◦ gestures, expressions, eye contact, notes on the
board, demonstrations, graphics
◦ “this is important,” “remember,” “pay attention to,”
“on the test,” or use of emphasis on certain words
or phrases
Note-Taking Methods
Write a card for each fact
Write a question on the front of the card
Write the answer on the back of the card
Quiz yourself
“Teach” someone else
 Great Lakes:
Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior
Roy G. Biv
 Colors of the rainbow:
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
My very educated mother just sent us nine
◦ Order of planets:
 Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto
King Phillip crawled over four giant stumps.
◦ Biological classification:
 Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species
These help create associations to help with
memory and recall.
Try creating images that are colorful and out of the
ordinary. This mental picture uses rhymes as
Picture a yellow beehive [5] with two [2]
entrances, one where eight [8] bees wait and the
other where zero [0] bees wait.
◦ There are 5,280 feet in a mile
Use symbols and abbreviations:
write beginnings of words
leave out small words like “a” and “the”
leave out vowels (you cn stll rd thm!)
just make sure you can understand your notes later
for example
greater than
Condense and summarize notes to make them
easy to review and study
Draw lines on your paper to divide the paper
into thirds
2 ½” Recall
Column: Write
key words and
questions here.
These are recall
clues. Quiz
yourself using
these clues.
6” Main Note-Taking
Space: Write notes
here as you normally
do, and review asap.
2” Summary Space: Use
this space to write a
brief summary of notes.
Indent to show main points, sub-points, and
relevant details
Start each main point at the left
Indent details under each main point
Indent again for additional points or details
Use Roman numerals, capital or lower case
letters, numbers, etc.
Combine strategies like using abbreviations
The Water Cycle (WC) – April 9
I. Water on Earth now = all ever had, ever
will. Same water moves through WC
II. WC = continuous – no beginning/end
III. WC cmplx, but 4 main stages
*could strt by tlkng abt any stage
A. Storage
B. Vapor
C. Condensation (=clouds)
D. Precipitation
1. Rain
2. Snow
See the big picture and how all the pieces relate.
Try color coding, making main point one color
and sub-points another color.
Sit near the
in class
Get enough
Color code
Use a
Take great
Memory, intelligence, perceptions
Conditioning, stimuli, rewards
Id, Ego, Superego
Storage in

similar documents