Main Content Region

Note Taking

Tips for Notetaking and How to Make it a Part of Your Life Forever

Learning how to take clear and effective notes in middle school and high school is a great skill to hone. Making it apart of your life in the classroom and outside of the classroom is a great way to start a successful life. If you look at notetaking as a useful tool and start to practice the art of notetaking, you’ll find that eventually notetaking will be an effective way to get and retain necessary information.


  • Find a method of organization that works for you.

  • Watch this short video to learn the different way of organizing your notes. The Cornell Method, the Outline Method, the Charting Method, the Mind Map Method, and the Sentence Method

Write as clear and neat as you can

  • Sometimes we think taking notes just means jotting down information as quickly as possible but if you can’t read it, then it won’t be useful when it’s time to study.

  • Use notetaking as a time to work on your penmanship. Sometimes you may have to jot down information quick because your teacher is speaking fast but maybe you can use “shorthand” text and go back and edit it for clarity later

Designate a spiral-bound notebook for each class

  • If you can, designate a spiral-bound notebook for each class and keep it organized in a binder.

  • If you don’t have spiral-bound notebooks, use loose leaf paper and create dividers in your binder to stay organized

Ask Questions / Add Question Marks

  • Asking questions is a major skill to great notetaking. Ask questions that will help you understand key concepts

  • Even if you feel like you understand the subject, creating dialogue can help you remember what you learned when it’s time for an exam

  • You can leave question marks in your notes so you can keep writing. When it’s time for questions, you can ask your teacher or professor for that word or concept you might have missed or need further explanation on

Leave room in your notes

  • While you take notes, instead of writing on every single line, double space your notes (leave blank lines) so that if you need to edit or add something to it you will have space

  • For example, if you add a question mark to a concept and the teacher explains it for you, you’ll need room in your notes to add whatever it is they explained

  • If your notes are on every line you wouldn’t have room to do that

Use this 3 step process to help retain important information

  1. Before Class: Review content your teacher or professor will go over in class. Stay up to date or ahead in class readings so you have knowledge on the subject and important concepts you will be taking notes on. Also, review notes from previous class or lecture for retention.

  2. During Class: Pay close attention, put the date at the top of the first page of your notes, sit in the front row of the class if you can, ask questions, and  nod your head as the teacher lectures so they know you’re paying attention. Use the method of notetaking that works best for you, you can’t write every single word down, so use shorthand and other tips mentioned above to get the best results.

  3. After Class: Review your notes and look for any questions you may still have. If you have more questions (which is a good thing), highlight it and make sure to ask next class or after class if your teacher has time. Write a summary of what you learned at the bottom of your notes and keep them organized in a binder for a quick review at the beginning of class the next time around.

Note Taking Survey