Fall 2021 Guidance/COVID-19 Information

Note-Taking Tips

Taking notes during lecture and while reading textbooks can keep you focused, help you learn, provide a tool for refreshing course material, and make it easier to study for exams. Trying out different methods can help you pick the strategies that will work best for you.

Getting organized

Develop a system: Electronic:

Where will you keep your notes? (Laptop? Tablet? Other?)

  • Choose an app (Goodnotes or other app)
  • Create folders by course
  • Label your notes (professor, class, date, maybe topic)
  • What will your notes look like? (Outline? Graphic organizer? Other?)
  • How will you keep track of questions, thoughts, and quotes?

Develop a system: Hardcopy/written:

Where will you keep your notes? (Separate spiral notebooks? Binder? Other?)

  • Number your pages
  • Label your notes (professor, class, date, maybe topic)
  • What will your notes look like? (Outline? Graphic organizer? Other?)
  • How will you keep track of questions, thoughts, and quotes?
  • Does it need to be 8.5x11? Other options might include:
    • sticky notes on a wall/desk
    • poster or other large paper and colorful markers/pens
    • text flags to mark pages
    • Be creative- make it fun!

Taking notes:

Recognize key information:

  • Lecture: listen for repeated ideas, words and phrases
  • Reading: look for bold items, headings, italicized text
  • Both: look and listen for other kinds of emphasis
  • Engage with the material (try different options and see what you like best):
    • Write notes: “Whoever holds the pencil does the learning”
    • Speak what you’re writing as you write it
    • Note examples and/or create your own
    • Draw diagrams to connect ideas/information

Using your notes:

Fill in gaps with additional information:

  • Look up questions
  • Ask your professor

Connect ideas:

  • Why are you noting it?
  • What concepts tie it together?
  • What’s the main point?