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Basic Tips on Note-Taking

Whether in grade school, high school or college, at some point, students are expected to take notes as they advance academically. So, does it mean students automatically know how to take good notes and understand the importance of taking correct notes?

The first thing students need to understand is the intended purpose for taking notes. For instance, students need to consider if the intended purpose is to understand a reading assignment, to help with writing an essay, research paper, or to prepare for a test.

Accurate note-taking requires students to examine, to arrange, and to sum up sources of information. In fact, in grade school, students in fourth grade ought to have been introduced to the basic skills of taking notes.

Although trying to keep up and to take notes in class can be frustrating, a few suggested tips for basic note-taking students can apply in the classroom and at home are as follows:

  • Create an outline to help memorize information.

  • Begin a new note-taking page for every new class, new subject, and leave blank areas/spaces between topics to fill in later.

  • Learn to abbreviate and to use symbols (characters) instead of full sentences. For example, the word “subject” can be abbreviated as “subj”. And, the symbol # (pound) can be used for the word “number”.

  • Listen for clues, signal words, or for repeated words and phrases from a teacher during a lecture or when teacher provides information in class. For example, a teacher states, “know the three (3) main areas of…”

  • Review notes to ensure the notes are correct and accurate.

Indeed, taking notes can become a bit discouraging; however, teachers advise students to read ahead and to prepare their own notes about a chapter in a textbook or about a published source assigned to students. And finally, students might consider taking notes of introduction sections; subtopics; summary paragraphs; and questions located within and at the end of textbook chapters to better understand the information students are required to take notes on in class.

Feel free to share some basic note-taking tips in the comment section!

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