Your Study Guides and Strategies starts here!

In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.
Louis Pasteur, 1822 - 1895
French scientist

Classroom learning series

Taking notes in classroom lectures

You can develop your own note taking system and study strategy
with the five "R's" of note-taking:

Record * Reduce * Recite * Reflect * Review

Get a good loose-leaf notebook:
This will enable you to add, delete, and re-sequence pages and materials.

Begin each session's notes with a cover page for later summaries and test preparation.

A typical notes page:


Class/subject or title or number (e.g. 3/34)

Heading, continued

Guest speakers' names,
including your fellow students' contributions

2. Reduce:
After the class

key/cue words

Link to information from your textbook, Websites or other sources that helps you understand or study the material

1. Record/take notes in class here:

identify the main points
capture the main ideas

Use outlines or concept maps

Use words and pictures and graphs or whatever it takes to get the information down quickly. Avoid quoting unless it is very necessary.

3. Place notes in this section when reviewing/studying
(see 5 below)

3. Recite: Talk aloud!

  • Review from memory what you have learned
  • Using the left hand margin's key words and questions, talk through, or illustrate definitions, concepts, etc.
  • Create your own examples

4. Reflect: Think over!

  • How does this relate to what you knew before?
  • Note the essay terms and find the best ones that refer to your studies: Apply, Compare, Diagram, Evaluate, etc...

5. Review the notes you took

  • At your next study session
  • Before reading new material
  • When studying for tests

Make notes on your "notes page"

Multiple pages of notes for one lecture:

  • summarize each page at its bottom,
  • summarize the lecture on a cover or end page

Classroom learning series

Preparing for the classroom | Class "prep"/paying attention |
Classroom discussions | Taking notes in lectures | Influencing teachers |
Interviewing for class projects | Consent form for interviews |
Problem based learning | Using guided notes

Adapted from Walter Pauk (1989) and the Cornell Notetaking System (Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH)