How to Take Better Notes in Class: Advice for Students

How to Take Better Notes in Class: Advice for Students

Achieving good grades isn’t easy for every student even though it may appear that it is for some. So what’s the secret behind the successful student? Why do good grades seem like a natural occurrence for some students, yet impossible for others? Moreover, how can the disparity disappear?

While it’s impossible to create and apply a formula of success for every student in every situation, there’s one common thread among all high-achieving students that can accelerate learning in even the most challenged learners. That thread is adequate note-taking, which countless studies have shown, enhances learning and improves grades. Here’s how any student can take better notes in class, advance comprehension, and repair an inferior grade average at the same time. Essentially, it’s how every pupil can emulate the achievements of their high-achieving counterparts, and be like the successful student.


Get organized before class.

The prepared student is the student who’s ready to learn. He’s never late or out of supplies. His pencils are sharp and his erasers are full. His notebook is opened before the teacher begins her lecture, and because he completed the assignments from his assessment books (browse latest assessment books at, he already knows what to expect in class and anticipates answers to any questions he may have.


Take notes in 21 century




Get into a good “see-hear” position.

In an attempt to minimize distractions, the successful student positions himself where he can clearly see every visual tool commonly used in any classroom (blackboard, whiteboard, projector, etc.). He also sits where he can sufficiently hear what’s being said. If necessary, the successful student will remove himself away from chatty classmates as well.


Write down what’s important.

The successful student knows that attempting to write down everything his teacher says is a waste of time. He’s a student – not a stenographer, so he’s careful to record only the things that he may not have previously understood, concepts that may answer his future questions, and/or facts that are simply interesting.


Dumbledore Take Note




Watch the teacher.

Sometimes, teachers give visual clues that indicate students should take notes. If a teacher starts writing on a board or projector, for example, she expects her students to write the same in their notes. Other times, a teacher may repeat something. Short of stating, “Write this down,” a repeated concept is an indication that students should write down an important part of a lesson.


Write neatly.

All note-taking is for naught if it’s incomprehensible. It is imperative, therefore, that students use legible handwriting to record key concepts. The successful student keeps all of his notes in a clean and orderly notebook that’s void of chicken-scratch, pencil smears and other types of obtrusive and distracting markings. Anyone who looked at this student’s notes, in fact, could easily understand what occurred in class because his notes are so organized and neatly written.


Study Savvy



Feel free to adorn material with visuals.

Sometimes, complicated ideas are simplified with a neatly drawn visual like a simple sketch or a diagram. The successful student will clarify a difficult concept by drawing a complementary, yet simple visual right next to it.