Working In Class

Working in class is a section of this website dedicated to developing good habits in the classroom. Note-taking and building relationships with classmates and professors will all eventually be covered. See the general tips below and more articles and videos at the bottom of the page. Send us a suggestion if something works for you and is not listed on this page.


General Note-Taking Tips
Note-taking is among the most important skills a college student can possess. Everyone will develop a system that works for them, but is your system truly effective? If you feel your notes are lacking, explore the links below to see examples of other systems and improve your own. Then, change your system to work best for you in lectures, when you are reading textbooks, and in meetings for class.

Everyone's notes will look different; however, there are some basic underlying principles to good note-taking.

Why take notes?

  1. Making yourself take notes forces you to listen carefully and test your understanding of the material.
  2. When you are reviewing, notes gauge what is essential in the text.
  3. Personal notes are usually easier to remember than the text.
  4. Writing down important points helps you remember them even before you have studied the material formally.

What are signs of good notes?

  1. They are brief.
  2. Never use a sentence where you can use a phrase. Never use a phrase where you can use a word.
  3. Use abbreviations and symbols, but be consistent.
  4. They are in your own words.
  5. Don't make a transcript of your professor's lecture; however, the following should be noted exactly:
  6. Formulas
  7. Definitions
  8. Specific Facts
  9. If you miss a statement, write keywords, skip a few spaces, and get the information later.
  10. They capture what was important about the lecture. Watch for clues from your professors on what to emphasize in your studying.
  11. They use an outline form or number system.
  12. They don't try to use every space on the page. Leave room for coordinating/summarizing later.
  13. They are dated and organized.

The 5 Rs of Note Taking:

  1. Record - use the rules above
  2. Reduce - summarize the information into "memory triggers" soon after the lecture
  3. Recite - study your notes, and read them aloud to yourself to better remember their content
  4. Reflect - connect your own opinions to the information you have learned, and process the data.
  5. Review - review regularly and frequently.


Articles and Books

Cornell Note Taking System - A classic and effective system for note-taking. This also discusses the 5 R's further.

Note Taking Time Savers and Hints - More tips and tricks on note-taking. Dispels many myths about "effective note-taking." Streamlines note-taking into an efficient process.

Source: A Special thanks to Dartmouth College's Academic Skills center -


Videos and Podcasts

How to Use OneNote 2007 - Many versions of Microsoft Office now include OneNote. If you would rather take notes on your computer than on paper, learning OneNote can help you get organized.