College of Staten Island
 The City University of New York

  Harry Thorne,
  WAC Coordinator
  Office: Building 2S Rm 227
  Email WAC

Writing Across the Curriculum/
Writing in the Disciplines
for Students

 Note Taking Tips

Learning through Listening and Writing

Note taking is an essential skill for succeeding in school. It allows you to learn your course material through writing. In the process of taking notes in class you will create a study aid for your exams, quizzes, and projects. Below are some examples of strategies that you can incorporate in your writing.

Some general suggestions for note taking:

  • Make your notes short. Avoid using full sentences and instead write phrases.
  • Write your notes in your own words.
  • Skip lines - leave visual breaks between definitions, lists, or explanations.

Leaving space allows you to fill in information from the assigned reading after class.

  • If you miss something, leave a blank in your notes so that you can fill it in later. If you try to copy the missing information right away from your neighbor, both of you will lose more material.
  • If your professor repeats something in class, make sure that you write it down.
  • Create abbreviations for words that are frequently used in course (this is where your texting skills come in handy).
  • Sharing—If you’re absent from class or you missed something that your professor said during class, be sure to borrow and copy notes from a fellow student.
  • Review your notes for at least ten minutes every week (the night before or the morning of your next class is an especially good time). This will keep all of the material fresh in your mind and prepare you for the days work ahead as well as the exam and in-class work and projects.

The links below provide tips and examples of several different note-taking methods. You can decide which strategy or combination of strategies works best with your learning style.
This site has a brief instructional video on taking notes and how to use your notes to study.
This site has a downloadable PDF of the Cornell Note Taking Method. It gives you an example of the visual lay out of how to organize class lecture information in note form.
This site provides simple instructions on note taking, listening, and participation.