It’s important for students to be able to take effective and efficient notes while in a lecture class. There will be so much information thrown at students and it can be difficult to sift through all of the information and determine which elements are important. Looking back at notes can also help students remember important facts and concepts they need to study for an exam. Unfortunately, nobody really teaches students how to take great notes, it’s something they are usually left to figure out on their own. There are a few tips and tricks to help students become better note takers.

 Look for Clues from Your Textbook

Most textbooks offer clues to help students determine which information is essential. For instance, many important terms will be in bold, which is always an indicator that the particular term or sentence is  going to be a major concept of the chapter. Also, many terms specific to a chapter or topic will also be in bold. If students cannot figure out specific terms throughout the chapter, they can also look in the back of their textbook for a list of essential terms that were used in each chapter. 

Focus on Exam Topics  

Another important way to identify information students should take notes on is to figure out what specifically will be on the exam(s). This information can be found in several places, for instance from the syllabus or directly from the teacher. Whenever a teacher says ‘this will be on the test’ students should definitely start taking notes.

 Get Organized

Taking notes is easier when students are already organized. Whether they are using pen and paper or their laptop, they should be highlighting and bolding terms that are important as they go along. Students should also be organizing information in a format that is easy to understand. Some students process information better if it’s written in a narrative paragraph format while others will do better if they have a list of streamlined bullet points.

Remember Dates and Places

There are some pieces of information that are universally important regardless of the topic. Dates and places, for example, are something every student should view as essential information. It will help keep the information within a student’s notes organized in a chronological fashion and help study for future tests. Dates and places generally appear on exams in most courses.

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