Skip to main content

How to take better lecture notes

News story

You’re probably going to spend a lot of time at university taking notes, so mastering the art of effective note-taking is a worthwhile endeavour. Here are some tips on how to take notes like a pro!

Don’t write down every single word. This is not only exhausting but also an ineffective method of note-taking – if you’re furiously writing down every word on the lecture slide, you won’t pay attention to the information that is actually on them. Try jotting down the most important pieces of information in short sentences and dot points instead.

Handwrite your notes. A lot of students can type notes much more quickly than they can handwrite them – however, this can actually be counterproductive. When you’re quickly typing out your notes, you often end up just copying the points on the lecture slides rather than actually taking in what’s being discussed.

Use technology. While it’s best to stick to pen and paper for actual note-taking, re-watching lectures online and downloading the lecture slides are really helpful ways to review your notes and write down any important information that you missed during the lecture.

Highlight important notes. Capitalising, underlining and using coloured highlighters to emphasize key points is a great way to make your notes easier to digest when exam time comes around. Don’t get too carried away, though – over-highlighted notes are about as useful as non-highlighted notes.

Don’t worry if your notes aren’t neat. Try to ignore any perfectionist tendencies you might have when note-taking – spending too much time trying to make your notes look beautiful will lead to you missing important information. Just make sure you can read what you’ve written!

Share your notes. If you have friends doing the same units as you, ask them if they want to swap notes after lectures. This is a great way to pick up information you might have missed.