- Be an effective listener.
Avoid judging the speaker; concentrate on the message. Pay attention. Listen for key ideas, main details and transitional phrases, which point to the structure and focus of the lecture. Anticipate the direction of the lecture.
- Write in shortened form.
Use phrases in place of full sentences in most situations. Abbreviate when it is logical, such as writing initials instead of repeating a person's name. Use symbols that are easy to understand, such as:
> increase or gain < decrease or loss ex example = equals or results def definition b/c because w/ with w/i within w/o without
- Be alert for both verbal and non-verbal cues.
Teachers may give cues to indicate structure in the lecture, the relationships among ideas and importance. These cues include transitional phrases and words, body language, voice tone and pace, repetition of ideas, and the time spent on certain subjects.
- Be selective.
Don't attempt to write everything. Take notes that reflect the interests of the teacher, themes of the course, keywords or phrases on overheads or chalkboards. Choose information according to what you need to learn and ideas that need clarification.
- Take notes in an organized format.
Find an organized way to take notes. This format should be simple and easy to use to both record and review the notes.
- Notes don't need to be perfect.
Your notes are not a masterpiece. Don't worry about erasures or misspellings. Make sure your notes are neat enough to read with ease. If you feel you want your notes to be neater, do not use class time to perfect them.
- Write on only one side of a page.
This prevents "bleeding through" of information from the other side and gives you room to add additional information on the back of a page later. Most importantly, it saves time by limiting the amount of turning and adjusting required to record or review notes.
- Review your notes regularly.
Reread your notes often. Look for developing course themes and relationships between the ideas of successive lectures. Make additional notes to link the class discussion to assignments and/or readings.