How to take lecture notes thumbHow should you be prepared?how to note down all?And how to contribute your best in Exams?

First of all let me state why we need to take lecture notes….What is so important of it?

  • In our Universities, lecture is the main method of teaching. So we should gain at least something for it. And there must be questions from what the professor says in the lecture hall.

Therefore it’s important to take an accurate, organized and effective lecture notes.

Here are some tips on how to do it.


1. Preparation before the Lecture

  • Read out the section before the lecture according to the timetable.If you don't do the reading, you lack the necessary background information to fully grasp the lecture and to meaningfully contribute during class.
  • If it is going to be your first lecture with the professor, then be aware of his style of lecturing.Some professors do lecture in an extreme speed and some aren’t. Some professors provide the printed copy of their power point slides. So you don’t need to write down too much. But some profs don’t provide them and we have to grasp all ourselves. So it’s better for us to be prepared to his style by asking our seniors or somehow.

sit closer to the professor

  • Sit closer to the professor and screen in the lecture hall as possible to reduce distractions.It’s better if you come 5 or 10 minutes early to get a good seat and have time to set up your pen and notebook or papers. You should make sure you can hear the professor clearly, see everything on the projector, and feel comfortable asking questions or making comments when appropriate.
  • Be ready with the necessary things you need to note down. Have extra pencils sharpened and extra pens. Make sure you have a supply of extra sheets as well rather than disturbing others and get thrown off the lecture hall!!!!

lecture notes paper

And these things differ according to the course. In other words, for some courses it’s easy to use a laptop or tablet PC than using papers and pen. Though it’s always comfortable to use the traditional pen and paper methods for courses like medicine.

  • Bring a voice recorder. Smartphones also have apps that allow you to record sounds. However, you should still take notes. The recording is just a fall-back device in case you realize that you've missed something important or you're not sure if you transcribed something accurately.

voice recorder in lecture hall

  • Remember, the important thing is to process the information in your head, not to record it on your recorder. Note taking, even when only 70% is taken down is more beneficial than 100% recording, because you make yourself process the information while jotting it down.When you miss a point, just quickly note down the time on the space where the point should be, and you can simply take it by forwarding the recording to the particular time you marked after the lectures instead of disturbing friends asking what the prof just said, or lose other points too in thinking of what the missed point could be.


 During the Lecture

  • Listen carefully to the introduction of the lecture. Copy whatever the introduction on the slide. Every professor organizes each lecture into some sort of objectives. By knowing this objectives, you will be better prepared to predict what notes you will need to take.
  • Take notes in outline format.Underneath section headings, write down ideas in bullet form and supplementary ideas with indented sub-bullets. This is much better than just writing down everything as a new point.

   Professors are not always organized about following main points with subpoints, so keep in mind that you may have to re-organize your notes after the lecture.

  • Though, your first priority  in the lecture hall should be grasping the lecture content and writing it down.  Never try to organize them in the lecture. That’ll affect concentrating and writing down the important points. But do it after the lectures.
  • Use abbreviations and skip unimportant words to take notes efficiently.Write only the important words that you need to get the idea of the point made. Skip words like "the" and "a" that do not convey additional meaning to the lecture content. Create abbreviations to help you write things down quickly, such as drawing arrows to mean ‘increasing/decreasing ‘or to show causation, and especially for terms used over and over again (e.g.: CVS for Cardio Vascular System). Remember, your goal is to understand what the professor is saying, not to write down exactly everything he or she says. In other simple words, apply your SMS'ing skills!!!Tongue out

write abbreviations


  • Jot down details or examples that support the main ideas. Take down examples and sketches which the lecturer presents. Give special attention to details not covered in the textbook, as these will likely earn you points on the exam.Draw diagrams for concepts you can't remember easily or don't understand.
  • Have a proper attitude. Listening well is a matter of paying close attention. Be prepared to be open-minded about what the lecturer may be saying, even though you may disagree with it.

listen attentively

  • Do NOT try to write down every word of the lecture. It is better to listen attentively, understand the topic /point being explained, and jot down the notes in point form - but not so brief that they don't make sense to you later!

writing all the notes in the lecture

  • Draw a box around assignments and suggested books so you can identify them quickly. Mark ideas which the lecture emphasizes with a highlighter, arrow or some special symbol.

important points in lecture

  • If there is a summary at the end of the lecture, pay close attention to it. You can use it to check the organization of your notes. If your notes seem disorganized, copy down the main points that are covered in the summary. It will help in revising your notes later.
  • At the end of the lecture, ask questions about points that you did not understand. When students ask questions, write down the questions and the teacher/professor's answers. This additional information might answer questions you have as well.


After the Lecture

  • Revise your notes as quickly as possible, preferably immediately after the lecture, since at that time you will still remember a good deal of the lecture. This is a good time to highlight or underline important parts of the lecture. Marked-up notes will be absolutely invaluable when you begin to study for the test, as you can quickly and efficiently remind yourself what the key parts of a lecture consisted of. Make sure to reread your notes within 24 hours of the lecture to maximize information retention.

revising with a friend

  • Revise it with a classmate. Two students see and hear more than one. Your notes will have different gaps than that of your class mates.
  • If you miss a lecture…. make sure to write “I missed it” in your notes as well, so that you will not forget. This way you ensure that you will get the notes from a friend or colleague instead of missing out on the material entirely.

missing a lecture

  • Collect notes for each course in one place, in a separate notebook or section of a notebook. Make sure your notes are organized chronologically and are titled. Use a loose-leaf notebook rather than a notebook with a permanent binding so you can re-organize notes in the most effective way when it comes time to review for exams.
  • Use mind maps. Mind maps are an excellent way to organize ideas on paper, and you can easily add examples in the right places even if your lecturer mentions them much later. If you don’t know about a mind map, then go click this link and read-->What's a mind map?How to make it?
  • And you can see lots of sample mind maps in our site, especially in A/L articles. Just see how they are put.

mind maps


  • Incorporate different colors of ink, diagrams, and drawings of your own. Make your notes your notes. Take advantage of how you learn (visually, aurally [by ear], or actively) and write/draw your notes according to that style.

colourful notes


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