Note Taking

Why should I take notes? 

Taking notes is not only a way to get information down on paper but also:

  • makes us active listeners (we pay better attention to what is being said)
  • it's a form of studying (we have to listen to the material and then think about it as we're writing it down)
  • it helps up notice important concepts more easily
  • it allows us to see the connections between concepts
  • it gives us a new way to learn the material
  • and of course, it's helpful for giving us material to study for exams.

This video gives even more information about why taking notes can be helpful in learning and retaining knowledge:

Video Clip

How should I take notes?
Handwriting and typing are the two common methods for taking notes. Here are some benefits to each.
Handwriting Pros
  • writing notes by hand gives your brain another method of processing it
  • there is often a better retention of class material
  • with handwriting it is possible to draw diagrams and pictures that better explain the material
  • you can bounce around on the page and fill in material as necessary
  • you can use many more shapes and colors than typing
Handwriting Cons
  • it is often slower than typing
  • it can be disorganized
Typing Pros
  • typing allows you to take down notes much faster
  • you can write down more information than with handwriting
  • you can more accurately get the information down


Typing Cons
  • you don't retain as much knowledge when typing
  • there is a rigid structure with typing (you can't type on any axis)
  • you can't draw pictures or diagrams
Notetaking Methods and Tips

Oxford Learning shows 5 possible templates for organizing your handwritten notes on a sheet of paper

Don't write everything down! Here are some tips from Stenson University about what you should pay special attention to and write down in your notes. 

This video shows how you can use colors, symbols, headings, and shapes to organize your notes and make them easier to study later.

Extra Tips and Tricks

Write down the date of the lecture/chapter that you are writing notes for
Use colors, symbols, underlining, etc to add emphasis to notes
Try different methods of note-taking to find which is best suited to you and the class
Keep notes of the same subject together
Use short hand writing for your notes
Make a legend of symbols 


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