How to Help Students Improve Their Notetaking Skills

By Huntington Learning Center

Maybe you’ve encouraged your students before to “take good notes,” but do they know what that means? Here are a few tips to help your students improve their notetaking skills:  

  • Take down key ideas. Your students should write down information that is obviously significant. You can help by pointing out during class work or lectures when something is important.
  • Paraphrase, don’t replicate. Remind your students that notes are for summarizing big ideas. Trying to write down every word you say won’t help them remember it. Bullets and abbreviations are better.
  • Jot down terms/formulas/definitions. Have your students write down words/formulas that they should study or memorize.
  • Record questions. Putting down questions in a margin is a great way for students to remind themselves of topics to clarify later. These cues can serve as a useful study guide.
  • Explore notetaking apps. Your students are digital natives. They might like using a notetaking app that allows them to store their notes and sync them across multiple devices. Check out GoodNotes, Microsoft OneNote or Evernote.
  • Keep notes organized. Teach your students to date their notes, label sections, use a highlighter or different colored pen to call out important information, and use visual cues like boxes to highlight key words or arrows to connect ideas.
  • Notetaking isn’t finished when class is over. Your students need to get into the habit of looking over their notes each evening to fill in any blanks, add or correct information, and neaten things up. 

Adopting a good notetaking system will help your students retain and recall information you cover in class. Done right, notes can enhance your students’ learning and make studying easier. But don’t assume your students inherently know how to take notes effectively. Give them some guidelines and in-class practice!

 See how Huntington can help your students succeed.


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