Taking Notes in Class

In classes, your teachers will talk about topics that you are studying. The information they provide will be important for you to know when you take tests. You must be able to take good written notes from what your teachers say.

Taking good notes is a three-stage process in which there are certain things you should do before class, during class, and after class. Here are the three stages of notetaking and what you should do during each stage.

  1. Get Ready to Take Notes (Before Class)
    • Review your notes from the previous class session before you come to class. This will help you remember what was covered and get you ready to understand new information your teacher provides.
    • Complete all assigned readings before you come to class. Your teacher will expect that you have done this and will use and build upon this information.
    • Bring all notetaking materials with you to class. Have several pens and pencils as well as your notebook.

  2. Take Notes (During Class)
    • Keep your attention focused on what your teacher is saying. Listen for "signal statements" that tell you that what your teacher is about to say is important to write in your notes. Examples of signal statements are "The most important point..." and "Remember that..." Be sure to include in your notes information that your teacher repeats or writes on the chalkboard.
    • Write quickly so that you can include all the important information in your notes. Do this by writing abbreviated words such as med for medicine, using symbols such as % for percent, and writing short sentences.
    • Place a ? next to information you write in your notes, but about whose meaning you are not sure.

  3. Rewrite Your Notes (After Class)
    • Rewrite your notes to make them more complete by changing abbreviated words into whole words, symbols into words, and shortened sentences into longer sentences.
    • Make your notes more accurate by answering any questions you had when writing your notes in class. Use your textbook and reference sources to obtain the information you need to answer your questions. If necessary, ask your teacher or other students for help.
    • Check with other students to be sure you did not leave out important information.

Having good class notes will help you to be better prepared for tests.


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