Effective Note-Taking in Class
Good lecture notes:
- Capture main points, helpful details and examples
- Structured strategically to allow for post-lecture annotation as well as later review
- Include pictures and diagrams to illustrate concepts visually
- Include your own questions, observations and other critical thoughts
To Transcribe or Encode?
- Transcribing: copying the lecture content word for word.
- *This might be good when…?
- Encoding: listening, thinking and writing so as to understand the content.
- * This might be good when…?
- Research studies show that typed notes are more likely to be transcribed, not encoded. Transcribing is associated with less effective learning, so transcribed notes MUST be encoded after the lecture.
- Think about annotating your notes after your lecture to get the most from them!
An effective note-taking flow: When to take Notes
- Before Lecture – From your readings
- During Lecture – Information covered by your teacher and fellow classmates
- After Lecture – Annotate and summarize what you just learned
Digital vs Handwritten Notes
But how do you choose the best method of note taking for you? Compare these options to see what is the best fit for you!
|Faster than hand-writing
||Easier to create diagrams and illustrations
|Notes can be synced, copied, backed up, searched
||Easier to annotate in the moment
|Access to multiple online distractions
||Can help with memorization
If Digital is for you, try these programs or apps for digital notes:
- Livescribe Pen
If Handwritten is for you, try these methods for handwritten notes:
Use document or paper to:
- Write or type important points or passages.
- Generate bulleted lists.
- Create structured outlines with numerals and letters. Summarize sections in your own words.
Cornell Style: Take notes on the right two-thirds of the page. List key words in the left column. Summarize the entire page in the space at the bottom.
Download PDF: Effective Note-Taking in Class
REMEMBER: The UNC Learning Center is a great resource! Both Peer Tutoring and Academic Coaching can help you create a balanced approach to succeeding at Carolina. Our friendly staff is ready to help – drop by or make an appointment!