San Diego Jewish Academy
High School Humanities
Note-taking and in-class skills

Oh wow, are you really excited yet? As much as you may think you know how to take notes, the content below may just help you improve your skills. What do you have to lose?

Only those who have the patience to
do simple things perfectly
ever acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.

- Unknown

Adequate notes are necessary

Adequate notes are a necessary element to efficient study and learning. Think over the following suggestions and improve your note-taking system where needed.

Listen actively

Listen actively
if possible THINK before you write
but don't get behind.

Be open-minded

  • Be open-minded about points you disagree on.
  • Don't let arguing interfere with your note-taking.

Raise questions

  • Raise questions if appropriate.
  • Don't do it simply to hear yourself talk; do it for understanding and clarification.

Develop standards

Develop and use a standard method of note-taking including punctuation, abbreviations, margins, class, date, and section headings.

Take notes in a large notebook | Top

  • Take and keep notes in a large notebook. The only merit to a small notebook is ease of carrying and that is not your main objective.
  • A large notebook allows you to adequately indent and use an outline form.

Leave a few spaces blank

  • Leave a few spaces blank as you move from one point to the next so that you can fill in additional points later if necessary.
  • Your objective is to take helpful notes, not to save paper.

Spend more time listening

  • Do not try to take down everything that the lecturer says.
  • It is impossible in the first place and unnecessary in the second place because not everything is of equal importance.
  • Spend more time listening and attempt to take down the main points.
  • If you are writing as fast as you can, you cannot be as discriminating a listener.
  • There may be some times, however, when it is more important to write than to think.

Listen for cues

Listen for cues as to important points: transitions from one point to the next, repetition of points for emphasis, changes in voice inflections, enumeration of a series of points, etc.

Cornell note-taking system | Top

  • Note-Taking Area: Record lecture as fully and as meaningfully as possible.
  • Cue Column: As you're taking notes, keep cue column empty. Soon after the lecture, reduce your notes to concise jottings as clues for Reciting, Reviewing, and Reflecting.
  • Summaries: Sum up each page of your notes in a sentence or two.

5 R's of the Cornell Note-Taking System

This format provides the perfect opportunity for following through with the 5 R's of note-taking:

  • Record - During the lecture, record in the main column as many meaningful facts and ideas as you can. Write legibly.
  • Reduce - As soon after as possible, summarize these facts and ideas concisely in the Cue Column. Summarizing clarifies meanings and relationships, reinforces continuity, and strengthens memory.
  • Recite - Cover the Note Taking Area, using only your jottings in the Cue Column, say over the facts and ideas of the lecture as fully as you can, not mechanically, but in your own words. Then, verify what you have said.
  • Reflect - Draw out opinions from your notes and use them as a starting point for your own reflections on the course and how it relates to your other courses. Reflection will help prevent ideas from being inert and soon forgotten.
  • Review - Spend 10 minutes every week in quick review of your notes, and you will retain most of what you have learned.

"Education is not received.
It is achieved."

- Unknown

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znet for
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