Thematic channels

How to take notes


Joan: Good morning. How are you?
Laura: Hi!
Joan: So, how did your first days of class at university go?
Laura: Actually, I feel a bit lost …

Joan: Why is that?
Laura: Mainly because it’s hard to get used to the way the professors lecture. It’s very difficult to take notes!
Joan: Yes, you’ll have to work hard until you get the hang of it.
Laura: What can I do?
Joan: Well, first you need to bear in mind that to take notes …

Joan (voice off): 

  1. To take notes in class, you need to distinguish what is important from what is not important: usually, when a professor repeats an idea several times, it’s advisable to write it down straight away.
  2. Organization is essential, as this will help you save time, stay focused and make things easier to understand. Write the subject and the date on each note, number the pages and separate them according to their corresponding subjects.

Laura: But… what else can I do? 

  1. Take note:
  2. If you use abbreviations, you will save a lot of time when it comes to writing things down.
  3. Write your notes in well-spaced paragraphs with wide margins: each paragraph contains the development of an important idea, and the blank space will allow you to add in notes later on, whether your own notes or those of the professor.
  4. Remember that you will have to supplement the notes with readings of articles, books, reports and any other materials that your professors recommend: your notes are just the starting point.

Laura: These ideas are not bad at all.
Joan: They helped me a lot.
Laura: So, you have to … 

Joan (voice off). The following list also appears on the screen:

  1. Organize your notes well.
  2. Pay attention to what the professor says, so that you know what is important.
  3. Separate ideas into paragraphs. When you go over them, the reading is clearer.

Laura: You certainly have given me a good starting point.
Joan: It’s all a matter of making an effort. Come on, you can do it!

Universitat de les Illes Balears
Universitat d'Alacant, Universitat de Barcelona, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Universitat de València

Taking notes at the University does not mean literally transcribing your professors’ explanations. We present some advice for drawing up your own study contents, ideas that will help you improve your academic performance.
versió catalana, versión castellanaenglish version,

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