Disability Services

Tips for Taking Good Notes

The way each student takes notes is very personalized. We use shorthand and abbreviations to speed up the process. If there is common short hand and abbreviations you use please make note of that on your notes after class so that when you share your notes the student reading that shorthand can understand it. The following are tips for making it easier for you to take notes you are going to share.

You don’t need to write everything. Many times the professor has a PowerPoint presentation that they are working with. Other times the material comes out of the book or another resource that you have access to. In these cases make reference to the source and don’t write too much detail. Never write a sentence when you can write a phrase.

Keep a simple layout for your notes. The more cluttered and mixed up your notes are is the more difficult it will be for your and the student you are sharing with to read.

Keep your notes organized. Have a separate folder or notebook for each class. Start each new lecture on a new page and number and date each page. This way instead of constantly flipping pages back and forth to write about specific topics you can write the page number where other information about the topic can be found.

Draw attention to important points or material the instructor repeats or says you will be tested on. You can do this by underlining, circling, or drawing stars around important points. You can also use different pens to write with that are easy to see. Just make sure that if you are writing with different inks that they are all solid colors that contrast well against the paper.

Review materials that will be covered in the class before you go to the class. This will help you take notes that are more specific and help you to know what content you need to write and what to write a reference for to get elsewhere. Having an understanding of the material before going to class will also help out with your active listening. You will ask questions in class that will help you and others better understand the course material.

Using a Instructors PowerPoint Slides

Many professors upload their PowerPoint presentations to Blackboard. If a professor does this you can print the slides as notes sheets or print them regularly and then write on the pages. You can also use the Notes Pane in PowerPoint (that you can turn on under the View ribbon) to type your notes on a computer. Using the instructor’s slides reduces the amount of writing that you need to do to keep up with your notes during a lecture.

Links for Tips for Taking Better Notes