An Adviser's Top Three Suggestions
- Attend each class and, if possible, sit towards center front so that you can hear, see and interact with the instructor.
- Read class material before class. It's easier to take notes when you are familiar with the material.
- Use a consistent method for taking notes. The Cornell method described in below is a very popular, effective method. Review and add to your notes as soon after class as possible.
Help on Campus
If you are having difficulty taking notes in an instructor's class, talk to that professor and ask for assistance especially with what s/he considers significant. Some instructors will also make their notes and class slides available on the web. Observe the note-taking systems of successful students and try out some methods that might work for you. Also, ask your academic adviser for assistance.
Help on the Web
There are a number of great study skills tips on this Virginia Tech Study Skills site. For help with note taking look at the menu on the left-hand side of the webpage and select any of the entries for Note Taking help such as Note Taking – The Cornell System, Editing Lecture Notes, and Note Taking and In-Class Skills.
A very thorough discussion of note-taking that reviews what you should do before the lecture, during the lecture and after the lecture. You will find the information for "A system for Effective Listening and Notetaking" halfway down the web page.
Listening skills and effective note-taking skills go hand-in-hand. Visit this Cuesta College website for guidelines for effective listening skills and taking lecture and textbook notes.
This is a great site from the Dartmouth Academic Skills Center. This site empasizes the importance of active listening as a part of your note-taking. There are links to handouts as well as a link to a short video on note-taking.
The University of Houston-Victoria has created a pdf, found under the link "Taking Notes", that describes how to use the Cornell Note Taking System.