Five top tips for effective student note taking*

Also known as the Cornell Method, this is one of the most effective ways of note taking. For this method you need to draw a line down your page, slitting it into two parts, with the left part being about 1/4 of the page, as shown below. You use the smaller column to jot down important points use the right side to record the points in as much detail as possible. This means that you will have enough content to revise when the time comes for you to do so.


Split Page Technique

Because what you learn in your lectures is only comparable to what you go on to read in your textbooks, you can split your page into two parts in your notebook. On one side you can take your lecture notes and on the other you can write material from your textbooks. This means that when you come to revise, you will have both sources integrated into one page. You could expand on this system by having a third section on the page of questions to ask your lecturer/discuss with your classmates.

Capture as much info as you can

It’s very important to understand the importance of note taking (link here that may help) – many people assume it’s difficult to learn this skill, note taking is not much more than basic common sense. Why not try to improvise new ways of capturing what is said in your lectures? Often it can be hard to capture everything your lecturer says so a voice recorder can help you capture lectures for later revision. Although you should always transcribe the material as soon as possible after as it’s still fresh in your mind.

Know what to note

Remember that not everything the lecturer mentions needs be be jotted down! It’s better to leave some material out. So when you are taking notes, make sure what you are writing down is worth reviewing or reading. Once you have done this, consider retyping or reading back over your lecture notes, removing the irrelevant parts so that you keep the sequence of work done. We recommend going over the work within the first 24 hours of the lesson to improve the retention rate.

Attend your lectures!

One of the most ignored tips among students is the need to attend class in the first place! If you want to have the right notes or increase your chances of understanding them, it’s best to try attending as many lectures and classes as you can. Attending classes is important because it improves your retention. In addition, you should try to prepare for each class beforehand. Making yourself familiar with the subject being taught prepares your mind and ensures that you make useful notes.

*This blog post is inspired from this post on

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