Guidelines for Effective Note-Taking

1. Look over your notes from the previous lecture to provide continuity with the lecture you are about to hear.

2. Record your notes clearly and as completely as possible. You cannot write down the lecture word-for-word, but try to be as complete as possible.

3. Write down the key concepts or terms given before the lecture. Be sure you can adequately define and describe these important names, events, or ideas.

4. Re-read your notes after every lecture. In your free time you can clarify them or go over points you may not have fully digested during the lecture. If you fall behind in note-taking, skip lines on the page and leave room to fill in later. If problems still exist, make sure you ask your instructor about them the next class meeting.

5. It might be advisable to keep a "flashcard" system for your key terms and concepts. An index card (3X5) for each term or concept may assist you in learning the information. Certainly, rewriting your notes in any form will help you retain the material.

6. Keep up with the reading assignments. Read and study all text assignments before class so that the material will seem less mysterious to you.

7. Use abbreviations in your notes, but be consistent in order to avoid confusion. Example: American = Am; Civil War = CW; railroads = r/r; President = Pres; without = w/o; ex = example; i.e. = in other words.

8. Fifty minutes of lecture = fifty minutes or more of study, preferably the same day. It is never wise to cram for a test, Do not let others try to convince you otherwise!

9. Allow plenty of room for taking notes. Depending on your supply of paper, you might even consider skipping a line and/or writing on only one side of a page. Separate important key names, places, or events to avoid confusion. Get in the habit of being neat so that you escape the frustration of not being able to read your own writing.

10. If in doubt about your note-taking expertise, ask your instructor to go over them with you. It is important to develop these skills. Good note-taking will help you in all your classes.