Note Taking Strategies for College

For many, note taking during a lecture is a given but how do you know what to put in your notes? Some students try to write everything, but that is a really bad strategy – you are so busy writing\typing, you really have no time to listen. So everybody agrees that you should summarize only the important points and not try to transcribe the lecture, but how do you know something is important?

I found a really nice post on a site called “The Art of Manliness” titled Write This Down: Note-Taking Strategies for Academic Success. The article summarizes a number of cues you can use to understand when something important is being said:

  • Anytime the professor says, “You need to know this,” or “This will be on the test.” Duh.
  • Anytime the professor repeats himself.
  • Anything the professor repeats very slowly so that it can be taken down word for word.
  • If your professor starts talking more quickly, or loudly, or with more emphasis.
  • Watch for language that shows relationships between ideas. These sorts of points are often where professors get their exam questions from:
    • first, second, third
    • especially, most significant, most important
    • however, on the other hand
    • because, so, therefore, consequently

At the end of the class, your professor will often summarize the main takeaway points. At the beginning of the next class, your professor may give a quick review of the previous class and then provide a preview of how those points are related to the day’s lecture.

With LectureMonkey – using these cues is simple, just use them to set bookmarks, and maybe add a quick comment (just a tweet). Then when you review the class (especially before a test) – you can skip back to the important sections and skip all the fluff.


About Jacob Ukelson

blog (mostly) about my work and technology. So far I have been lucky enough to have been working on things I consider fun and with really top notch people. I have worked in both large companies (IBM) and small companies (ActionBase, ConicIT, Dapper, eXeedTechnologies). eXeed was establish to remedy a failure of the VC model in Israel – most VCs were monetary investors, but most companies needed not just money – they needed operational and business guidance. That is what we provide at eXeed – not just an investment but also our time and skills as seasoned software executives. I have taken on various titles – CTO, VP Products, VP BizDev – but throughout my career a constant focus has been on technologymarket fit, aka customer development. Unique breakthrough technology is a start, but the product must solve real business problems. It needs to be something customers can understand, relate to and will want to buy. I have been doing this for 20 years for software products in companies both large and small.
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3 Responses to Note Taking Strategies for College

  1. Pingback: Note Taking as a Foreign Student | LectureMonkey

  2. Pingback: Some Number for Note Takers | LectureMonkey

  3. Pingback: Lecture Notes for Recorded Lectures | LectureMonkey

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