While taking notes:

  1. Don't write word for word.

  • Get all the main ideas.
  • Record some details, illustrations, implications, etc.

  2. Paraphrase.

  3. Integrate with other knowledge you already have.

  4. Underline and star major points.

  5. Leave plenty of space for additions.

  6. Note speaker's organization of material.

  7. Be accurate.

  • Listen carefully to what is being said. Ex: If a professor indicates potential test questions, make a note of this.
  • Pay attention to qualifying words. Ex: sometimes, usually, rarely, etc.
  • Notice signals of transition.

  8. Be an aggressive listener.

  • Ask questions and discuss if permitted.
  • Seek out meanings.
  • Relate the material to your other classes and your life outside of school.

  9. Develop a suitable system of mechanics.

  • Jot down words or phrases.
  • Develop some system of shorthand and be consistent in this use.
  • Leave out small words.
  • Use abbreviations and contradictions.
  • Use symbols: +, =, @, &, etc.

  10. Decide what note-taking method is best for you (writing vs. typing). 

After taking notes, review and re-word them as soon as possible.

  • Don't just re-copy without thought.
  • Reminiscing may provide forgotten material later.
  • Rewrite incomplete parts.