Take Note: 10 Ways You Can Take Better Notes
The Student Success Center at Concordia University Texas offers students free tutoring services, accommodations for students with disabilities and tips for studying.
Effective studying requires good notes. Here are 10 tips to help you improve how you take notes and, therefore, how you study.
Go to Class
This may seem obvious, but you get a lot more out of a class when you’re there. If you can’t make it to class, consider having a friend FaceTime or Skype you in.
Don’t Try to Write Everything Down
It can be overwhelming and nearly impossible for you to try and write down everything your professor says. Instead of trying to record every word, write down only the most important information.
Look for Cues
How do you know what to write down? Look for cues, such as:
- Here are four things to know
- The definition is
- In summary
- This is important
- This will be on the test
Ask for Clarification
It may be daunting to ask the professor to repeat information or explain it further, but don’t be nervous. Our CTX professors are here to help you!
Determine How to Take Notes
If you prefer to write things down, grab a journal and a pen. If you prefer to type and keep your files digitally, bring your fully charged laptop to class.
Date Your Notes
It’s much easier to refer back to a class if you put the date on your notes, whether you’re writing them down or typing them.
Organize Your Notes by Subject
A good practice is to separate your notes for each subject. You may even find it helpful to have a separate journal or computer file for each course.
Draw It Out
If you’re more of a visual learner (process information better by seeing things), draw out the concepts you’re learning. You can use pictures, graphs, charts and more.
Try Different Methods
There are many different note-taking methods, including outlines and charts.
With the Cornell Method, you take notes like normal but leave room in the left margin and leave a few lines on the bottom of the page. In the left margin, you write down words or phrases to remind you what the page of notes is about. In the bottom few lines, summarize what the page of notes tells you.
If you learn more effectively by listening, record the lecture. Make sure to ask the professor's permission first out of courtesy.