5 Tips for Effective Note-Taking

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When students, regardless of their age, enter a classroom they prepare for two things. Either they prepare to succeed or to fail. If they have read about the topic to be unearthed, they will be organized and ready to take meaningful notes. In addition, such notes will give meaning to class attendance. And thus, as dominoes fall, preparation leads absolutely to success. Therefore, effective note-taking is a direct result of purposeful preparation.

A System/strong

Develop a system. Most teachers/lecturers professors have a style of presenting information that makes sense to them, albeit a type of organization. Another mode of preparation, then, entails being ready to discover this scheme, or outline. Speakers have a main idea to communicate, and by using short phrases or key words careful notes reveal this idea. Sometimes even the best of speakers become side-tracked, so it is at this point the student can go back and add any information he may feel he has left out.

Cues and Clues/strong

Having recognizable symbols and abbreviations will also aid immensely in later cyphering and deciphering the notes. For example, each time the phrase “greater than” appears, use the mathematical sign for greater than. One student had taught herself to knit and used “tog” for “together”. Another classmate, in an effort to write with speed, learned to form certain letters clearly so words or the main letters in them were easily recognizable. Whatever note-taking style a person develops needs to remain consistent thereby alleviating any confusion when reviewing their notes.

Brief and to the Point/strong

Keep notes brief and to the point for easier understanding when preparing for an exam or to write a paper. There is no need to jot down every description or detail given by the professor. If you prefer a specific scenario, go back later and add the details as you remember them in your own words. However, do take accurate notes; putting some in your own words is good, but do not change the meaning. Additionally, when listening to a lecture, pay close attention to repeated, or emphasized, points. Indeed if those are worth calling attention to, they will most likely appear again, or should. In other words, remain alert and attentive to the main points.

Indicators and Storage

Always date and number all pages, and keep in one place. This is imperative. Some students devote one spiral notebook to each class; some even prefer small binders that offer the flexibility of loose paper. Of course if using a laptop is better for your purposes, all the notes are already in one place. No matter the mode, organization of important notes tends to relieve stress when anticipating exams, essays or any deadline related event.


While the lecture remains fresh on your mind, go over your notes clarifying any thoughts or correcting any spelling. And then review your notes periodically to”own” them, making them quickly accessible to your memory. Moreover, as the professor discusses prior lectures, it will be easy to connect his comments to the subject at hand. After noting these selected suggestions, one now is able to conclude that with thoughtful preparation, success in the classroom is bound to occur. Having an idea of the subject matter prior to class, allows the student freedom to know the most important things to note. And knowing the procedure he will use to gather and organize the information actually provides a degree of confidence. All in all these constitute a formula for effective note-taking which in turn will secure the desired success.

Busy Mom Terry Ford is a prolific freelance writer. She avoids common spelling and grammar errors by using Grammarly, the best grammar checker online. For other helpful study tips, please visit GradeSaver.


Author: SmartStudent

SmartStudent is an educational portal that provides information & advice to aspiring students. regarding applying to university, choosing a course, what to take to university, finding student accommodation and much more.

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