Summary

Effective note-taking takes practice, and even the very best students may lose track in a discussion or become confused about the objectives in a lesson. Don't become discouraged. Remember that the more you think about the lecture—i.e., listen actively and take good notes—the more you will understand. It is what you actually do with the ideas presented in class—or those generated in your thoughts through listening, reading and thinking—that are critical to your understanding and retaining the material.

This lesson has presented some ways for you to approach note-taking. There are almost as many ways to take notes as there are students taking them. You should use the methods that work best for you. Work on perfecting your own technique. You will find that effective note-taking is a skill that is of utmost importance in college, but it is also an ability that will be valuable in your professional life.

The purposes of good note-taking are to:

One aspect of preparation is setting up a notebook:

Tips for structuring and maintaining good, accurate notes:

Steps to take prior to the lecture:

Remember, this is your education. To get the most out of it, you will want to ask questions. Prepare a list of questions prior to class, especially on concepts you did not fully understand. Also, note concepts during the lecture that you do not understand and about which you want to ask questions. If you continue to feel that you don't understand, ask a classmate, make an appointment with your instructor, or visit the learning support center on your campus.