Student Academic Support Services
2. During Class
Listen for clues
Stress general ideas
Use your own words
3. After Class
Attend ALL lectures
Sit near the front of the classroom
Use a separate notebook or binder for
Date your notes (This matters around
Write on one side of the page
Have pens and pencils ready
If text is referenced, have it open and
Get excited! It will help you stay
organized and focused.
Tune in and maintain eye contact
Listen for a statement of
Keep listening even if lecture
Focus on ideas, facts, or
Stay objective if material is
To truly listen, you must be
attentive! Hearing is a physical
act that does not necessarily
When the speaker:
Pauses or slows down
Repeats a point
Modulates the volume of his/her voice
Uses introductory phrases (such as, “The
four main points are…” or “Note the
Writes on the board
Gestures or uses visual aids
No one correct way to take notes
exists…there are a variety of methods for
taking lecture notes. You need to use and
adapt the strategy that works best for you
and the type of course lecture.
Words or concepts are repeated
Introductory & concluding transition phrases are
Words signaling relationship, new subject,
conclusions, or examples are used
Anything is written on the board or overheads
A direct statement is made (such as, “This will
probably be on the test.” OR “Star this in your
An example is used…record the instructor’s
examples (You’ll often find them on the test.)
The instructor’s level of interest rises, he gets
excited, or more animated
Anything is presented in a list form
You don’t understand it. If a term or concept is
used that you don’t understand or can’t spell,
circle it to check later
Strive to detect main ideas
Capture ideas, facts, procedures
Skip lines between main ideas (this
gives you room to fill in missing info
you remember later)
Look for the professor’s
Consider an example too obvious
Overload yourself with abbreviations
Give up if the lecturer is too fast/too slow
Stop to ponder for too long
Over indent or waste space
Wait for something “important”
Look only for facts
Text message or play games on cell phone
Work on other homework
Use fragments: Don’t try to write down every
word spoken. Do get the most important
Leave spaces if you didn’t understand or
need to add something you missed (statistics,
diagrams, or charts) later.
Develop your own system of abbreviations
and symbols. Find your own style!
If your handwriting is messy, recopy or type
up your notes neatly while the info is still
fresh in your mind.
Ask the instructor to go slower or
repeat a point
Prepare before class
Trade copies of notes with friends
If available, attend S.I. (Supplemental
Ask for clarification
Check with instructor after class
Leave spaces in notes for filling in the
Use a tape recorder
Get plenty of sleep
Utilize caffeine or energy foods & drinks
Sit in the front of the class and lean forward in your chair
Chew gum or eat candy (if you can do so quietly)
Review text & note headings before class, making notes in
text during class
Illustrate notes with pertinent info (charts, graphs, etc.)
Note anecdotes and relate them to text or lecture info that
may be on exams
Work out before class
Keep a stress ball/small toy in bag to stimulate circulation in
hands and arms
DO learn from this experience!
Avoid scheduling classes when you know you’ll be
Ask your peers which professors are engaging
Wear overly comfortable/warm
Eat big meals shortly before class
Sit in the back of the classroom
Lay your head down or recline in
Marking up a Text
While you read a section, underline key sentences (or important parts of
sentences). Underline what seems to be the most important idea in each
Remember: underlining highlights by contrast, so underline only what is important.
When you look up a word’s definition, write the definition in the margin
next to the word.
Try to separate points from support. Write “sup” in the margin next to a
supporting detail. If several supporting details (or reasons)are given, label
them and then number each one in the margin. This will help you see
how many the author provides.Draw arrows to connect each piece of
support to the point it illustrates.
Draw pictures to illustrate concepts – whatever will help you understand
Make whatever other notes in the margins that will help you concentrate
on and comprehend your reading.
Marking up a Text (continued):
An alternative to the marking up method requires the use of sticky
notes. Using sticky notes is a great alternative when you
cannot or do not want to mark in or on your text.
1. As your read, write the main idea of each paragraph on a sticky
note and post it on or beside that paragraph.
2. Use a sticky note to write at least three vocabulary words you do
not understand. Post those words at the beginning or end of the
reading. Look up those words and write their definition on a
separate piece of notebook paper.
3. Put a sticky note with an arrow beside any section that you feel is
particularly interesting (use a “*”) or confusing (use a “?”).
Taking Text Notes = Effective Study
Taking notes as you read is another way of
“marking” your text.
Note taking is the best way to get actively
involved with your course reading material
Knowing that you are going to write forces you
to concentrate on what you’re reading
When making notes, you are forced to
distinguish between important and unimportant
Note taking provides you with the opportunity to
put the important information into your own
words as you organize it for review
Note Taking Techniques
1. Written notes - Notes outside of
A. Block form
B. Summary form
C. Outline form
2. Notes with Recall Columns
B. Cornell Note Taking System
A. Hierarchical maps
B. Semantic webs
C. Line maps
Notes taken outside of the text on a separate sheet
of paper can be the most valuable form of note
taking for your reading. These notes can be in
block, summary, or outline form.
○ Block form is organizing main ideas and supporting ideas in a
block pattern or paragraph format as you are reading.
○ Summary form involves first reading the entire section, then
breaking the information down into segments, and writing a
condensed version of the text in your own words.
○ Outline form is dividing the reading material into main points
and sub points as you condense and organize the information.
It is suggested you use informal rather than formal outlining
Another way written notes can be gathered is on note
cards or index cards. This is ideal for reading material that
contains new vocabulary or concepts. These cards then
are useful for preparing for quizzes and exams.
Notes with Recall Columns
Style #1 - Double-entry Diaries (DED):
DEDs are similar to taking notes.
Assists you with Comprehension. Try some of
the following DED strategies:
○ Divide page in half with questions and main ideas on the left and
specific information on the right.
○ Divide page in half with direct quote from text and page number
on the left and thinking options on the right (reader’s reactions).
A sample of this type of DED is on the next slide.
○ Divide page in half with facts or details on the left and author’s
message on the right.
○ Divide page in half with confusing part in text on the left and
reader’s attempt to get unstuck on the right.
○ Divide page in half with new/confusing vocabulary on the left and
reader’s knowledge on the right.
Notes with Recall Columns
Style #2 - Cornell Note Taking
System, which involves dividing note
paper into three sections. The larger
section to the right is for taking notes,
the marginal section to the left is for
recall words or phrases and
questions, the bottom is for a summary statement.
The Cornell Note Taking System can be
adapted to suit your needs for example, the
recall column can be just questions for review
or it can just be word cues for recall. In other
words you can make the system work for your
learning style, your purpose, and your reading
The Mapping strategy for note taking is useful
because it helps create a visual representation
of the reading material. It also is a more active
method of note taking because you have to
move outside of the author’s organizational
framework and create your own. There are
four different mapping methods:
1. Hierarchical Maps
2. Semantic Webs
3. Line Maps
To create a hierarchical map:
1. Write the main heading or topic at the top of
the page and put a box around it.
2. Then draw lines to indicate the subdivisions
(the next level of headings) and write and box
each of them
3. You can then further divide each of these
points into one or more supporting points.
Remember mapping is a very individual
method of note taking and many different
designs can be used. Maps can also be
focused in many different ways.
Instead of using a top-down display, as in the
hierarchical map, semantic webs radiate from a
central focal point. There are four main
components in a semantic web:
1. The core question or concept, which is the main
focus of the text chapter or section of your reading
2. The web strands – these show the subordinate
ideas that describe the core concept, the main
ideas the author makes about the topic
3. The strand supports – these are the information
that provides details and support the web strands
4. The strand ties – these are the words or phrases
that are written on the lines that connect all the
pieces of information.
If you do not like drawing circles or
squares, you may find that line or wheel
maps work well for you
To draw a line or wheel map:
1. Write your topic in the center of the paper
2. Add subordinate points on lines that radiate
up, down, or out from it.
3. You can insert supporting details by adding
lines that extend out from the subordinate
This is generally something that is good for
sections of your reading material that
involves a collection of topics or headings
that are all related (types or forms of
In order to first create a chart, first
determine categories and headings. To do
this effectively, you will need to read and
think about the material in order to
determine areas of similarity among the
topics or subtopics.
Van Blerkom, Dianna L. College Study
Skill: Becoming a Strategic Learner. 7th
ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing,
Digital Annotation Tools
1. Diigo - It’s one of the most commonly used free web
annotation tools which lets you bookmark and tag web
pages. In addition to that, you would also be able to
highlight a part of a webpage if you wish to emphasize
something and attach sticky notes to it. Found at:
2. A.nnotate - A.nnotate is not just a free annotation
tool but also a collaboration and indexing tool. It can
be used to catalogue images and other document
formats. It also makes it easier for you to work with a
group especially when documents are needed to be
sent through email back and forth because of
comments of different users. Found at: a.nnotate.com
Digital Tools (continued)
3. Bounce – With the Bounce App, you simply log
on to their website, enter the URL of the webpage
you’d like to comment on and then click on Grab
Screenshot. Voila! You’ll have a screenshot of that
webpage for your records. Found at:
4. AnnotateIt – AnnotateIt has a bookmarklet that
allows you to add Annotator to any web page and
save your annotations to AnnotateIt. Simply, drag
the bookmarklet icon to your bookmarks bar and
then sign up for an account. Found