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.
Use phrases in place of full sentences in most situations. Abbreviate when logical such as writing initials instead of
repeating a person’s name. Use symbols that are easy to understand such as:
Professors 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.
Do not attempt to write everything. Take notes which reflect the interests of the professor, themes of the course,
keywords or phrases on overheads or chalkboards. Choose information according to what you need to learn and ideas
which need clarification.
Find an organized way to take notes. This format should be simple and easy to use to both record and review the
Your notes are not a masterpiece. Do not 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
This prevents “bleeding through” of information from the other side and allows for insertion of additional information on
the back of a page if necessary at a later time. Most importantly, it saves time by limiting the amount of turning and
adjusting required to record or review notes.
Reread your notes often. Look for developing course themes and relationships between the ideas of
successive lectures. Make additional notes as needed during this review to link the class discussion to
assignments and/or readings.