No-Nonsense Note Taking

  1. Arrive to class on time.
  2. Sit up front so you can see and hear well.
  3. Use a loose-leaf notebook so you can rearrange pages and add in hand-outs where they belong. (Also, you’re less apt to lose notes when using a loose-leaf.)
  4. Always title and date your notes.
  5. Be prepared for class. If possible, read ahead so the lecture information makes sense and is familiar to you.
  6. Listen closely for changes in pitch, volume and tone. Watch closely for changes in movement and gestures. Most of these cues signal that a main point is about to be presented.
  7. Try your hardest to take notes in your own words.
  8. Use keywords. It’s best not to use complete paragraph and sentence form. Not only is it unnecessary, but you don’t have time.
  9. Use as many abbreviations as possible. Make up your own!
  10. Use a pen, ink lasts longer!
  11. Use various notations to point out main ideas and important details. (*stars, arrows, [brackets], boxes, etc.)
  12. Don’t be afraid to use a good deal of paper. Give yourself plenty of room!
  13. If you miss something or fall behind, leave a space and move on. Get the missing information from a classmate or the instructor later.
  14. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you cannot interrupt a lecture, make a quick note of your question and ask it later.
  15. Review your notes daily or as often as possible. This will help you learn the information, and it saves time on studying.