Purpose of Note Taking

From Berkely:

  1. In order to take efficient notes, the student is forced to listen carefully and critically to what is being said.

  2. Taking notes aids comprehension and retention. Personal notes in one's own writing are easier to understand and remember than texbook material.

  3. Lecture notes should represent a concise and complete outline of the most important points and ideas, especially those considered most important by the professor.

  4. Lecture notes clarify ideas not fully understood in the text or elaborate on things that the text mentions only briefly.

  5. Lecture notes combined with notes from textbook material are an excellent source of review. They provide a gauge to what is important in the textbook.

A frequent complaint of students is that they are unable to determine during the lecture what is important and what might just as well be left out. These students may attempt to write down every word uttered by the professor, combining page after page of isolated facts and details but missing a more general understanding of the material, as they are too busy writing to listen. The following are some suggestions to aid the student in taking efficient lecture notes.