How to Write Your Notes in Class


Taking notes is probably the most influential tool for getting the most out of your university and college. Notes taking isn’t an important subject of matter for the students alone, this is something you will be doing in the bulk of your life. This article will help you to choose the effective style for taking the notes during the lecture.

High schools and universities have their own perks and downsides, the burdensome studies, the sleepless nights, overburdening fears yet the most memorable days.

Often students find it hard to manage the studies along with their side activities.

But a poise between the study and extracurricular activities can only be achieved by vigilantly using the study and lecture hours.

Why is it so important to take notes?

Active notes taking hones the memory, not only it will improve the active listening skills of the students but also retains the concepts in the memory for a longer period of mind. Notes taking can be initially intimidating for the students, but it’s not as much as it seems.

Notes taking is not simply jotting down every single thing you hear during the lecture rather it is the art of smartly conceiving and noting which really is important; means the core concepts of the topic.

There are a bunch of different methods for taking notes. The article provides a brief overview of the major methods of notes taking. Go for the one which suits your needs well.

The common notes taking styles are:

  • The outline method
  • The Cornell method
  • Charting method
  • Boxing method
  • Mapping method
  • Sentence method

Let’s have a detailed view of each style.

Outline method:

It is the simplest, most common and time-saving style. Here the important points are written as the main heading in the left corner of the page and further subheadings and important points are written in the bullets form.

This could be an effective style for the classes where the professor strictly follows the lecture plan. Just highlight all the important stuff in your notebook. When you will be revising the lecture after class you will have a clear picture of all the topics covered in the class. This method also eases you with the editing of notes.

However, extensive lectures like mathematics and chemistry having a lot of formulas and equations are difficult to be noted down in the outline method.

Cornell’s method:

It is rather a new and effective tool. The layout given by the method is uniquer than all the predecessor. The method has a functional versatility which makes it equally effective for different lecture domains.

Divide the page of your notebook into four sections. A top section for the title and dates. A bottom section for the summary. Divide the mid-part into two columns with the ration of 1:3.

In the upper portion write the title of the lecture along with the date and another thing you want to mention.

Write the main notes in the column on the right side of the page. You can stick to your notes taking style in this section. Write it in paragraphs, bullets or any other style you want.

The section on the left style is reserved for the key points, things to remember, key concepts, important formulas, and your queries.

In the bottom section write the summary. At the end of lecture compose your thoughts and write it in this section. It’s probably the “essence” of notes taking. This will help you to save the concept in your long term memory.

Thus, in a nutshell, the Cornell method of notes taking is effective for digesting the key concepts and extracting the essence of the lecture, but the student should prudently prepare the lecture page before the lecture.

Charting method:

This method can be best for memorising the facts and figures. It is life saviour tools for the stats students. All the lecture content is arranged in the form of columns. Thus, all the information can be recorded in the form of comparisons and differences.

This method is recommended for self-study mode when you are preparing for a quiz or exam. It will really aid you in quickly memorising the content especially the statistical information. Charting method of notes taking requires time to vigilantly create columns for all the respective information, sorting and finding the information from the lecture content. So it is not the recommended style of notes taking during the class.

Boxing method:

This is relatively a new entry in the queue. Boxing method focusses on the box-wise separation of different lecture contents.

All the student has to is to divide the notebook page in different boxes each reserved for a separate section of the lecture. For instance, if you are taking a biochemistry lab, the experiment is about the oral glucose tolerance test then you cannot the lab lecture by the boxing method. Allocate different boxes on the page for the apparatus used, methodology, results, instruments used and chemicals.

This is really helpful notes taking method which enables the section wise systematic study, but it can take time to evaluate the whole lecture sense, lecture flow and relationship between different lecture contents while revision. So you can use this method for lectures having fixed parameters like the lab class lectures.

Mapping method:

If you really find it hard to understand the lecture flow and driving relationship among the heavy lecture contents during revision a week after the lecture, then the mapping method is surely for you.

This method of notes taking focusses on creating the flow sheet of the lecture. Just give your lecture a simple start by writing the main heading keep straying left to right for noting the subtopics. Make a free hand flow chart.

This method readily briefs heavy lectures. Not only it is visually appealing but also easy to learn and memorise things on fingertips.

Sentence method:

Sentence method is the primitive but yet an effective tool for notes taking. Note the lecture in simple sentences. Thus, it not only saves time, but you can focus more on the terminology used by the lecturer.

However, this is not the time-saving tool for revision purpose. The combination of the sentence method with other time saving and visually appealing methods can drive you towards better notes taking skill.