Student Guide to Effective Note Taking


Note taking is one of the most effective ways to comprehend studied material. It’s challenging for many people because effective note taking requires a lot of attention from you, which is something most people find difficult. However, if you want to kick away poor note taking, the following strategies can help you do it effectively.

2-6 Note Taking Method

This is one of the most effective note taking strategies, according to experts. It’s also known as Cornell Method. In this method, all you need to do is partition your notebook into 2 parts, as shown in sample below. The smaller 2 column can be used for the highlighting. Use the column on the right for the most important materials and what you think will be tested. The result of this strategy is that you have enough content to scan when the time comes for you to do so.

2-6 Notes Taking Method

Split Page Technique

Since what you learn in class is only comparable to what exists in textbooks, you need to activate two parts in your notebook with a straight separating line. Here, all you have to do is take class notes on one side and textbook material on the other side. When you’re revising, you will be able to have materials from both sides integrated. You can also add a set of questions to ask the professor in a third partition on the page. You can also use Wiki for better note taking.

Use Group Notes

You also need to activate other people’s perspectives insofar as notes are concerned, especially when you don’t feel like taking notes during class. When you don’t have to take notes in class, make sure that you’re totally active in class and attentive, as this will aid you further when you review all of your notes before a test. You could also take a few notes of the crucial parts during class time.


Capture as much info as you can

It’s very important to understand the art of note taking. However, although many people assume this is rocket science, note taking is not much more than simple common sense. It’s also important to improvise new ways of capturing what is said in class because many times, it’s so hard to differentiate or capture everything the professor says. A good voice recorder can help you capture lectures for later revision. To this end, always try to transcribe the materials when it’s still fresh in your mind.

Identify noteworthy sections of lesson

Not everything you hear in class should go to your notebook. Some material is better left out. Hence, when you’re taking class notes, make sure the materials are actually worthy of reviewing or reading. Once this is done, you should consider reading or retyping all the lecture notes and removing the irrelevant parts as you strive to keep the a logical sequence of work done. Experts recommend going over the work within the first 24 hours of the lesson to improve the retention rate.

Attend class

One of the most ignored tips among students is the need to attend class. If you want to have the right notes or increase your chances of understanding them, it’s best to try attending as many classes as you can.

Attending classes is important because it improves your retention. In addition, you should try to prepare for each class beforehand. Familiarizing yourself with what is being taught prepares your mind, helps you determine what to ask, and helps you avoid taking worthless notes.


Use more color

For effective note taking, use of different ink and color also adds up to value received. In fact, researchers associate retention to between 50-80 percent when different ink is used to make notes.

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