You are on page 1of 2

RYERSON UNIVERSITY LEARNING SUPPORT SERVICES

Taking Effective Notes from Lectures To take good notes, you need good listening skills. You will find information on listening skills in the separate handout “Getting the Most from Lectures Through Active Listening.” This handout explains strategies for recording what you listen to. By taking notes, you will stay focussed on the lecture and will thereby learn and retain the material more effectively. As well, reviewing notes regularly will help you prepare for exams. Be prepared for notetaking. Early in the term,  go over the entire course outline to get the “big picture” for the course. Knowing the course objectives, the main topics, the grading criteria, and the types of assignments and quizzes/exams will give you an idea of what to focus on in each lecture. In particular, if you know how you will be tested, you will know how detailed your notes should be. For multiple choice exams, take notes on details such as names, dates, definitions of terms, and specific examples. For essay exams, take notes on more general ideas such as key concepts and the relationships between them.  determine whether the professor bases course content more on the textbook or the lectures. If lectures are more important, you will have to record more information from them.  exchange phone numbers with someone in the class who is willing to act as a “note buddy.” Agree that you will share notes if either of you misses a class or misses taking down important information during a class.  Before the lecture, look at the course outline to determine the topic, review notes from previous classes, and complete any assigned readings. That way you can anticipate what the lecture will cover and connect the new material from the lecture to what you have learned from these other sources. Take notes during class.  Write on only one side of the page. Leave a wide left margin and space at the bottom of each page so that later you can write questions and summaries.  Don’t write down the lecture verbatim. Use point form to record main ideas and important details in your own words. Also record questions the prof asks the class and students’ responses, as well as the prof’s reponses to students’ questions. Use abbreviations such as e.g. (for example,) & (and), def. (definition), # (number), % (per cent), < (less than), > (greater than).

For example. “How can I prepare for notetaking early in the term?” Write the questions in the left margin. Then write important points directly under the heading and indent less important points.  Review lecture notes as soon as possible after class. 2.  If you don’t hear what the prof says.  Review and recite your notes as often as you can to prepare for the exam.  Leave space between notes if you miss key information so that you can add it later. recite the correct information again until you know the material. After class. as above.  Summarize notes by writing a summary paragraph at the bottom of each page. As well. Later. Then write a more condensed summary at the end of the notes for each lecture. THREE USES OF ADVERBS 1. Ask questions if there is anything you don’t understand. Then cover the notes and recite out loud the information that answers each question. if you’re wrong.  Try the best you can to take notes from overheads or other audiovisual materials. for the first part of this handout. . to describe verbs Frank walked quickly out of the room. Use outline form. Fill in missing information by referring to the text or plan to ask your “note buddy” or the prof during office hours or in the next class. 3. You can also number points in sequence. to describe other adverbs The man turned around very slowly. at least within 24 hours.  For each section of notes. Check your answer. you could create the question. Include examples. you could write headings in capital letters. For instance. create a question that sums up the main point. Summarizing helps you understand the information more fully. to describe adjectives Stephanie is a highly skilled carpenter. because they help you see how a theory or concept is applied. review your notes and test your understanding. ask him or her to repeat it. ask your “note buddy” to help you fill in any gaps. collate lecture notes with notes from the textbook and other sources so that all material on the topic is together.