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Study Skills 101 - South Bend-Elkhart: Note-Taking

A libguide to help you learn more about how to study effectively

Lecture Notes

There are many things to remember when taking notes during a lecture or a class. Sometimes, it is hard to follow what a teacher is saying, maybe because they are talking too fast, or you find it hard to pay attention.  Here are some simple things you can do to take effective notes during a class.

1. Date your notes and number the pages.

2. Sit near the front of the class to force yourself to pay attention

3. Sketch out any graphs, charts, or illustrations

4. Mark what confuses you and write down any questions to ask later

5. Use abbreviations

6. Edit your notes after class to see what you may need clarified

Reading Notes

Taking notes while reading is also important and can help you when studying for an exam, writing a paper, or preparing for a lecture.  Go to the Reading Strategies Tab for more information on how to take notes while reading!

Cornell Notes Diagram


Using abbreviations while taking lecture notes can be a tremendous help.  It helps you to keep up with what the teacher is saying and saves your hand from cramping!  But, it is important that any abbreviation system you use is legible and you understand it. Here are some tips for creating your own abbreviated notes!

  • Write out one syllable words
  • Leave out vowels, not consonants (easy to undrstnd!)
  • Use apostrophes instead of syllables (ex. reqir't = requirement)
  • Any new terms your teacher uses, create an abbreviation at the top of your notes and use it throughout
  • Leave out common words (the, a, an, and, etc.)
  • Use symbols (#, %, $, &)


Extra Tips

1. Use a 3 ring binder and divide your lecture and reading notes

2. Use a pen instead of a pencil except for math or science class

3. Do not recopy your notes (it just wastes time)

4. Don't go to class hungry (you won't pay attention!)

5. Leave blank spaces

6. Maintain eye contact with teacher

7. Schedule your classes at peak periods of concentration