Taking Effective Notes

Taking Effective
Notes in Class
If you need to remember
something for class:
◦ Write it down
◦ Review it
◦ Organize it
◦ Keep it handy
Stay on top of your notes!
To Process Information Efficiently
1. Commit yourself to do
your best work.
2. Concentrate to eliminate
distractions and focus on
the material.
3. Connect new ideas to
what you already know.
4. Capture critical
information with your
pencil or pen.
Commit to the Class &
the Work Involved
Be psychologically ready to learn.
Arrive a few minutes early and review your notes and
previous reading assignment.
Identify areas that are difficult to understand.
Develop questions that will help you clarify challenging
aspects of the material.
Be on time: instructors often review during the first few
minutes of class.
Concentrate on the Material
Keep your mind on-task.
 “Clock-In”, this is your job.
 Be aware of distractions & don’t let
them have you.
◦ Talking to others --“off-task”
◦ Daydreaming & doodling
◦ The Right Attitude
Connect Ideas
Paraphrase what you hear
 Relate key ideas to what you
already know
 Make a note of unknown
words…and Follow-up
 Make new ideas into
connected ones
Capture Key Ideas and
Listen Actively
Identify key words, themes, and
main points
Recognize organizational patterns in the
Relate details to the main point
Listen for clues – Important Test ?’s
Take ownership of the information
Choose the Note-Taking Method
that’s right for you…
The Cornell System
 Outlining
 Summary Method
 Concept Maps
 Fishbone Diagram
The Cornell System
Key Words
Main Notes
Divide your notepaper by drawing a
 vertical line 2 inches from the left margin.
On the right side, take your notes from class.
On the left side, write
key words
On the bottom, write a summary
 These will make your work easier to review later.
 Test yourself by looking at comments on the left and
identifying the lecture material on the right.
The Cornell System groups is good at separating your
notes from your questions and observations, and it
encourages critical thinking!
This is easy to do with a wellorganized lecture, otherwise
you may have to work a little
Use headings and
subheadings followed by
course material.
Your results will be neat, easy
to follow notes, providing a
clear picture of the
Summary Method
Monitor the lecture for critical
Did you
Pause to create your own
summary of what has been
This method will force you to
determine what is important
and how information is related
to the topics presented.
This is an especially effective
method for dealing with a
disorganized lecture.
No, we’d
The Concept Map
Get rest
Good listeners
in classroom
Regular sleep
(6-8 hours)
Sit near
Avoid distraction
Take notes
Eat Breakfast
Thus provides visual cues about how ideas are related.
It is very effective after class, putting your notes in a more
visual format.
Fishbone Diagram
The problem or
outcome is printed in
the head of the
Identify the primary
factors and connect
them like ribs to the
backbone of the fish
Elaborate each rib
with the details
related to each
primary factor.
Other Note-Taking Tips
Don’t erase mistakes, line through it.
Learn common abbreviations. (Abbrev.)
Avoid writing things down that you don’t
◦ Instead, ask questions when you don’t
Review your notes often.
Think and record information in pictures
and diagrams if you are visual.
Short-Term Memory:
Listening and Forgetting
Most forgetting takes place 24
hours after you see or hear
If you don’t review after class,
you may have forgotten up to
70% of the material.
One Minute Paper
Take out a piece of paper and write for
about one minute:
◦ What were the main topics covered today?
◦ What questions do you still have after today?
Journal Prompt
In regards to Note-Taking, consider the following:
What is your current method for taking notes in class?
What is your reaction to the suggestions about taking
notes for class?
Which ideas will you implement in your note-taking
◦ Why?
Do you think they will have the potential to help you
earn better grades?
◦ Why?
Please focus on answering the "Why?", as this is the
most important in how the course material relates to