Tips for Taking Notes

Prepare to Listen

Have all assigned work and readings completed. Review your notes from previous class sessions. Think about what you know about the topic that will be covered in class that day.

Be Happy to Be There

Choose to find the topic useful and interesting. Be committed to learning all that you can.

Be Open Minded

Be receptive to what your teacher says.

Be an Active Participant

Ask for clarification when you don't understand something. Evaluate what is being said and try to anticipate what will be said next.

Discern the Most Important Points

You cannot write faster than your teacher can speak. Make decisions about what to write. If you feel you have missed the most important points, ask your teacher to repeat what s/he has said.

Avoid Distractions

Focus on what your teacher is saying. Turn off your smartphone and close any programs that might distract you from note taking. Do not sit next to your closest friends or your secret crush. Sit close to the front and center of the class and maintain eye contact with your teacher.

The 3 Rs


Review regularly


Repeat key concepts from class.


Connect class ideas to other notes and readings.


Dartmouth College's Academic Resource Center offers worksheets, tips, and videos for improving your note taking skills.