Note Taking Skills

Are you a good note taker? How do you know? Read on...


Is it necessary to copy down everything that the teacher lectures on word for word?

Of course not! This may result in some serious wrist cramping! The average person speaks about 225 words a minute. Can you write that fast?

Why take notes?

  • Success begins with being organized and ready to learn during a lecture.
  • You need to take down the important facts that might be asked on a test or quiz.
  • Note taking helps you be focused and on task in class.
  • Often times teachers ask specific questions on an exam/quiz that may have been discussed in class but where not found in the textbook.

Preparing to take notes

Before you arrive to class

  • Did you read the assigned chapter?
  • Do you have enough paper in your notebook?
  • Do you have several pens that write?
  • Do you plan to use a laptop? Are the batteries charged?
  • Is your notebook organized?

Tips on notetaking

Begin by writing down the title of the lecture. If the instructor uses a white board, overhead projector or powerpoint slides, write down in outline form what the instructor is emphasizing.

Be brief in your note taking. Summarize your notes in your own words. Remember: your goal is to understand what your teacher is saying and not try to record everything word for word.

Keep the main subject in mind. Listen and watch for key points. Give each subject a new section in your notes. Watch for keywords used in class taken from textbook headings, Powerpoint slides or whiteboard notes and write them in your notes.

Compare your notes with a classmate to make sure you both have the main points of the lecture.

LHPS Teacher Hints On Notetaking:

"Students need to know how to focus on key points made in class and format notes in a notebook using bullet form." ( 9th Grade Social Studies Teacher)

"My notes consist of handouts where students fill in key words or do practice problems. Students need to focus on the content of the notes."
(9th Grade Science Teacher)

"For English class, it would be helpful to come to class prepared with background information on the books you are about to read. Be prepared to take notes on the plot and characters of the stories." (9th Grade English Teacher)


Recommended sites to see

Note taking skills - from lectures and readings


"He listens well who takes notes."

Dante Alighieri , The Divine Comedy