Taking notes

Among the different methods of work to be acquired at the college level, note-taking is undoubtedly one of those which it is important to master quickly. It is indeed very useful from the very first courses. She will stay in college and university. In the workplace, opportunities to take notes are also common. Hence the need to remember why and how to take notes and know how to use them.


Note taking is important for many reasons:

• Since memory is a forgetful faculty, note taking is used to transfer information from short-term memory to long-term memory.

• It promotes active participation, attention and concentration.

• It allows you to prepare for more lectures.

• It’s a great way to gather information and keep it.

• Facilitates the revision of the material: taking notes is already starting to study for work and exams.

• It develops the ability to recognize the structures of a message (main, secondary ideas).


Before class
• It is necessary to prepare by bringing the appropriate equipment.

• There is also a positive attitude to note taking, which is a necessary and valuable skill to develop.

• It is also necessary to have read his previous notes and to have read compulsory or suggested.

• Finally, it would be appropriate to choose a place in the classroom that allows you to lose nothing and avoid distractions.

During the class
It is suggested to:

• Make sure the page is set: write on the front of the sheet only.

• Date and page each sheet.

• Leave a margin of a few inches to the left of the sheet to write keywords, questions, personal comments, etc.

• Air out your notes by leaving spaces between the different points of the material, for possible additions.

• Take the notes in the form of a plan, that is, by shifting the titles from left to right according to their respective importance.

• Use a numbering system and adapt it to your personal style.

• Adopt a telegraphic style rather than word for word.

• Use abbreviations and symbols to save time (but do not overdo it).

• Scratch rather than erase, avoid liquid or correction tape.

What to note

• What the teacher writes on the board, what is included in a plan or on a PowerPoint, everything the teacher clearly says, the elements he insists on, repeats, or announces as possible questions at the exam.

• The essence of the explanation of main ideas and secondary ideas.

• Definitions, explanations, statements of principles and laws, statistics, diagrams, formulas, relevant examples, etc.

One suggestion: leave blank spaces when you do not type in order to ask the professor for explanations.


• A first revision should preferably be done within the first 24 hours, because the short-term memory decreases rapidly (after 24 hours, 80% of the information is lost).

• A quick review can save information by promoting its transfer into long-term memory.

• It is suggested that you complete the abbreviations that seem unclear and complete the blank spaces by taking notes from a colleague or asking the teacher.

• Use the left margin to write words or phrases, comments and questions.

• Recite notes to see if you understand the content.

• Reread notes as often as possible, ideally once a week, in order to reactivate your memory.

It is recommended not to copy his notes: it would be a waste of time. Hence the idea of ​​airing his notes to complete what escaped us during the course.