Note Taking Strategies

If you have a note taking strategy that works well for you, feel free to skip this article and continue using it. If, however, you are searching for a better way to take down those key points and details during class, you may want to give these popular note taking methods a try.

    • Outlining: When this strategy is used successfully, the information that represents the main ideas and the information that represents the supporting facts will be clear from a quick glance at your notes. However, there are several ways that you can use the outlining method. One way is to label main ideas with capital letters or Roman numerals, and then label supporting information with regular numbers and lower case letters. Another effective way to separate main ideas from supporting information is to indent. This is because the main idea can be written so it is flush with the left margin, and supporting details can be indented and listed using a series of dashes or bullets.
  • Mapping: Using the mapping method can help you record points presented during a lecture and denote their importance. The main idea or topic of the lecture is written in the middle of the page and surrounded by a box or circle. This box or circle is then connected to other boxes or circles containing the major supporting points of the lecture by lines drawn on the page. Minor details or examples can then be connected to the major supporting points by drawing lines from the circles or boxes containing the major supporting points to the circles or boxes containing the minor details.
  • The Cornell Method: This note taking method involves dividing loose leaf pages into two columns. The left column should take up about one third of the page while the right column should take up about two thirds. The bottom of the page should be sectioned off with a horizontal line. During class, notes should be written in the larger right column. After class, topics are summarized in the left column to make it easier to review and find information. A summary of the material contained on the page is written in the bottom section.

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