Helping Students take better notes

General Tips

  • Constantly think of intelligent questions that you could ask about the material being discussed. Include these questions with your notes to help add perspective.
  • Try to picture everything the professor is talking about instead of just writing it down. This can help your ability to remember it later
  • Participate in the class discussion and ask questions during the lecture. This helps you to learn more than just listening to the lecture.
  • Remember the 5Ws (who, what, when, where, why) so that you can put the material in context.
  • Get in the habit of bringing your mind back if it starts to wander to other topics.
  •  Review your notes for at least 10-15 minutes each night. Add any important information that you might have forgotten to write during class.
  •  When you review your notes, circle or underline main points. While reading the chapter, go back and add to your class notes and include the page number so that you can find that section in the textbook later.
  • Compare the notes you took in class with the main ideas in the book chapter.
  • Compare your notes with someone else’s notes to fill in any gaps.
  • Never throw away notes, since they may be valuable for another class or for your career (file them away after the semester is over).
  • Sit close to the front of the class. Studies indicate that students who sit close to the front take better notes and focus more effectively on the learning materials.