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What is Note-taking?    

Note-taking is the process of writing down important information from a text, lecture, or other learning opportunity in order to review and remember the information later.  There are many different formats for note-taking.  Unless there is a specific requirement from your teacher for following a particular note-taking format, use the note-taking format that seems to work the best for you.


Organizational Tips:Rounded Rectangular Callout: Check this out!

Click here for note-taking tips PowerPoint. 


Web Resources on Note-taking: 

  1. Maryville High School Study Skills:
  2. Note-taking During Class:
  3. Various Study Strategies:


Common Q/A on Note-taking:


1. Why do I need to take notes?

Despite understanding the material clearly as it is being presented, it is difficult to remember that information for an entire unit or chapter spread over several days or even weeks.  In addition, you will have similar information and note-taking expectations for several classes.  Writing notes allows you to go back and remember important ideas over time.  In addition, note-taking keeps you active and alert during class and focused on the important information.

2. How do I learn to take class notes?



Note-taking is a developmental process that builds over time.  Initially, your teacher will probably share a note-taking structure (two-column or split page notes) and ask you to learn to take notes using that structure.  At first, the teacher will provide the notes and your task will be to copy the notes correctly.  Over time, you will be introduced to other note-taking structures.  It is important for you to decide which “system” seems to work best for you and to use that system regularly. 


Especially during high school, your teachers may expect you to take notes from their lecture or class presentation without any material to copy or use as a guide.  At that point, it will be important for you to have taken many notes so you can recognize the important information and separate that from the material that is not ‘noteworthy’.  Throughout the entire learning process, it is very important to read and review your notes regularly.  Otherwise, note-taking is just a writing task and not a learning process.

3. How should I organize my notes?

It is important to keep class notes separate from worksheets, homework assignments and other informational hand-outs from each class.  Within your notebook and class sections, create a specific location for class notes.  Loose leaf notebook paper seems to work best.  Date each day’s class notes and put some type of heading on the notes each day as well.  This way you can more easily keep track of what was discussed each day.  Sequence your notes chronologically by date. 

4. What should I do with my class notes after I
take them?

This is probably the most important part of taking class notes!  After taking class notes, it is important to re-read and review the information on a regular basis (every couple of days).  When reading the notes, it is a good idea to highlight or underline important ideas and add any details that might have been missed during class.  (If you add information to your notes, make sure it is accurate).  The notes are a great study guide for tests and quizzes and may be useful in the completion of homework assignments.

5. What should I do if my teacher is going too fast and I can’t keep up?

This problem frequently occurs when students are trying to write down too much information.  Talk with your teacher and explain your concern.  Show your teacher the notes you are taking and see what advice he/she might give.  If no other solution is readily apparent, your teacher may be willing to provide you a copy of the notes.


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