Tips for Effective Note-Taking

  • Sit towards the front of the room.
    You will hear more and concentrate better when there is little space between you and the professor.
    Students who have a kinesthetic learning preference are able to be right in the middle of the action, in the center of the professor's energy.
    Professors also tend to favor students who sit towards the front and center of the classroom.
  • Do the assigned reading before the lecture.
    You will be able to listen and take effective notes more easily and with greater understanding.

    Be prepared and systematic. Use a three-ring binder and loose-leaf paper. Label and date your notes in order. Handouts and other class materials can be inserted easily into a section of a notebook for each of your classes.

    Look for the structure of the lecture. Understanding the way the information is organized will help you take more organized notes.

    Look for the main points of the lecture. Professors often make their main points clear by emphasizing them in some way. Listen for information that is repeated, written down, or stressed vocally. A professor's voice may get louder or softer, higher or lower, or the rate of speech may change when presenting important information. the information is probably important if it is listed or numbered. Pay attention to the nonverbal clues. Some speakers walk towards their audience as they make a major point. Others use hand gestures, strike the podium, or pace back and forth as they present key ideas.

    Utilize the Cornell Note-Taking System. Divide your paper into a 2-1/2 inch section (on the left side) and a l-inch section (on the right side). The right-hand section is for taking notes; the left-hand is the recall section where you will write key words and phrases.