Refresher: How To Take Notes


The purpose of note-making is to summarize information in your own words so you can study or do research effectively.

Jot the key points of what you have read.
Do not copy directly from your textbook or from a webpage.

Tips for making effective notes:

  • When taking notes from a book, read the chapter titles and the introductory and summary paragraphs before reading the chapter.
  • Try to get the big picture by identifying the main ideas.
  • Make notes of important information in outline form or in a new file on your word processor.
  • Always use your own words, but if you quote the author, give him or her credit. (See How to Cite References.)
  • Use as few words as possible-but keep it clear!
  • Include diagrams, charts, and maps in your notes.
  • Write terms on index cards with definitions on the back. Get someone to quiz you.
  • Illustrate terms with simple pictures as a memory aid.
  • Group and regroup the information (look for similarities, differences, and patterns).
  • Find links between pieces of information.
  • Make graphic organizers of the information.

Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers allow you to "see" how important points of factual information are related while putting your notes into words that you can understand.

Five Examples of Graphic Organizers:

You choose which best suits the topic and your learning style.

Download any of these graphic organizers to help you take notes. The two on the left will probably work best when you are taking notes from your textbook.

Last modified: Friday, 28 February 2020, 10:37 AM