Good Notes



  1. Listen actively and think before you write.
  2. Be open minded about points with which you disagree.
  3. Raise questions if appropriate.
  4. Develop and use a standard method of notetaking including punctuation, abbreviations, margins, etc.
  5. Take and keep notes in a large notebook. A large notebook allows you to adequately indent and use an outline form.
  6. Leave a few spaces blank as you move from one point to the next so you can fill in additional points later if necessary. Or use the method of notetaking of using only on the right side page of your notebook for class notes, and the left side page of your notebook is for rewriting notes after class creating a review/study guide.
  7. Do not try to take down everything the lecturer says. Spend more time listening and attempt to take down the main points. If you are writing as fast as you can, you cannot be as discriminating a listener.
  8. Listen for clues as to important points, repetition of points for emphasis, changes in voice inflections, enumeration of a series of points, etc.
  9. Many lecturers attempt to present a few major points and several minor points in a lecture. Try to see the main points and do not get lost in a barrage of minor points which do not seem related to each other. The relationship is there if you will listen for it. Be alert to cues about what the professor thinks is important.
  10. Make your original notes legible enough for your own reading, but use abbreviations of your own invention when possible. The effort required to recopy notes can be better spent in rereading them and thinking about them. Although neatness is a virtue in some respect, it does not necessarily increase your learning. This is where you may find the 2 page technique listed on # 6 to be helpful.
  11. Copy down everything on the board, regardless. You may not be able to integrate what is on the board into your lecture notes, but if you copy it, it may serve as a useful clue for you later.
  12. Sit as close to the front of the class.  There are fewer distractions and it is easier to hear, see, and attend to important material.
  13. Get assignments and suggestions precisely - ask questions if you're not sure.