Taking Notes in Lectures

A good strategy of note taking in class will pay off in terms of effectiveness and time savings.

The keys to good note taking are the five "R's":

Record * Reduce * Recite * Reflect * Review

You can develop your own system based on a few elementary strategies:

  • Get a good loose leaf notebook.
    This will enable you to add, delete, and re-sequence pages and materials.

  • Develop an organizational system; include

    1. headings, the date, even the number of the class (e.g. 3/34)

    2. any guest speakers' names, including your fellow students' contributions

    3. a system of "sections" to organize your notes
      Leave plenty of white space for additions

  • Think in terms of three main sections:

    1. Lecture notes
      Identify the main points
      do not try to quote the lecturer, instead capture the main points;

    2. a space for editing or annotating what you have written,
      linking information from the text or other sources,
      adding definitions

    3. a "condensing" or summary section.