10 ways to take effective notes in class
September 27, 2019

Taking good notes in class helps you remember key concepts, make connections between topics, identify content you don’t understand, and improve your recall.

Here are some quick notetaking tips from Georgian’s advisors:

  1. Figure out what works best for you — handwriting notes or typing them on your phone, laptop or other device.
  2. Include the date and main topic at the top of each set of notes so you can quickly reference them later.
  3. Only write down what you have a hard time understanding. Don’t write down what you already know.
  4. Focus on key words and concepts rather than trying to capture everything your prof says.
  5. Take notes you can’t get from anywhere else, such as a PowerPoint slide deck or textbook.
  6. Use bullet points or lists rather than full sentences.
  7. Develop your own system of symbols, abbreviations and shorthand, e.g., with = w/, because = b/c.
  8. Highlight concepts you don’t understand so you can come back to them.
  9. Make them visual. Draw charts, shapes, illustrations or use colour coding if it aids your understanding.
  10. Rewrite or retype them after class so you can absorb them again.

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This article was originally published in September 2018. It was updated and re-shared in September 2019.