This is the "Note Taking" page of the "Academic Success Skills" guide.
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Last Updated: Jun 27, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Note Taking Print Page

Top 5 Methods of Note Taking

The following YouTube video demonstrates 5 Note Taking Strategies that can be used when taking notes in lecture or after lecture to reorganize lecture notes. 


Note Taking Strategies

The following YouTube video from Oregon State University's Academic Success Center discusses different aspects of note taking such as Organization, the Study Cycle, Metacognition, Reviewing,  Reflection, & Common Note Taking Methods. 

Online Note Taking Resources

Evernote: Capture, organize, and share notes from anywhere. Your best ideas are always with you and always in sync.

OneNote: OneNote is a member of the Office family you already know. Shape notes with points pulled from Outlook email, or embed an Excel table. Get more done with all your favorite Office apps working together.

Simplenote: The simplest way to take notes. Light, clean, and free. Simplenote is now available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, and the web.

Google Keep: Capture what’s on your mind. Add notes, lists, photos, and audio to Keep.


The Five R's of Note Taking

Follow the Five R Method of Note Taking to record meaningful notes in class to study effectively & efficiently from.

  1. Record: Write down all meaningful information legibly
  2. Reduce: Condense notes into a summary of main points & details
  3. Recite: Test your knowledge by reciting information without looking at notes and/or a textbook
  4. Reflect: Draw connections between the information & the real world; write down opinions & thoughts about the information to ask questions & use when writing an essay
  5. Review: Review previous information before moving onto new information to enhance understanding & retention

Determining Instructor's Cue

Instructors provide different verbal & body signals to distinguish important information. During lecture, look for these signals to identify main idea, key points, & important concepts.

  • Writes information on the chalkboard
  • Repeats information
  • Provides extensive details 
  • Speaks more slowly 
  • Changes tone of voice
  • Gives definition & examples
  • Refers to information as a test item
  • Uses visual aids
  • Refers to specific textbook pages

Making the Most of Your Notes

Before Class: 

  • Preview the information to be covered in class
    • Look in the course syllabus for the day's lecture content
    • Listen for annoucements at the end of class for the following lecture content
  • Eliminate distractions
    • Sit in the front of the classroom
    • Turn off & put all electronics away
  • Review previous notes
  • Set-up your notebook/laptop/tablet for taking notes
    • Label & date the page
    • Label each section with topic headings
    • Add page numbers

During Class:

  • Paraphrase main points & important details
  • Write down instructor-cued information
  • Write down questions & points for clarification
  • Use symbols & abbreviations
  • Ask & answer questions
  • Participate in discussions 

After Class:

  • Review notes within 24 hours to avoid re-learning
  • Clarify points of confusion, answer questions, & fill-in missing information
  • Summarize & re-organize information

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