Want to make creations as awesome as this one?




Only record the key words that you need to get the idea of the point. Skip words like “the” and “a” that don’t add additional meaning to the lecture content. Retain key technical or discipline-specific terms.

Write phrases, not full sentences.

Paraphrase what you hear so it makes sense to you—it helps you to understand and remember what you hear. Try to paraphrase everything except where information needs to be noted exactly.

Take notes in your own words

Use headings to indicate topic areas or to include bibliographic details of the sources of information. Use outline form and/or a numbering system and indenting to help you distinguish major from minor points and as a clear way of indicating the structure of lecture information.

Structure your notes with headings, subheadings and numbered lists

Use colour and symbols to mark structure and emphasis.

Code your notes

to highlight major sections, main points and diagrams. You can also use different colours to classify and link concepts or information by topic. However, don’t focus too much on colour coding when you’re in the lecture. It requires time and concentration, so it’s more useful to do most of the highlighting and underlining when you’re revising your notes later.

Use colour

to identify key information, examples, definitions, or other important materials. Devise your own marking code to indicate each type.

Underline, circle, star, etc

write key words, skip a few spaces, and get the information later. Leave a space on the page for your own notes and comments.

If you miss something

etc. (etcetera) = and the rest e.g. = for example info = information i.e. = that is n.b. =note well, important p = page (pp = pages) para = paragraph ch. = chapter no. = number diff = different C19 = nineteenth century

Use Symbols and Abbreviations

Develop your own set so that you don’t have to write every word in full. You can shorten any word that is commonly used in your lectures.Gov = government nec = necessary Work out a system you’ll remember and use it consistently. Introduce a few symbols and abbreviations at a time to help you remember them.

Use Symbols and Abbreviations


Information can also be recorded using a concept map or diagram. Try drawing diagrams or pictures for concepts that are hard to note quickly. For instance, draw a pie chart to roughly indicate the relative strength of political parties in an election instead of writing these details out. Information can be added to the concept map later.

Use concept maps and diagrams


Concept maps can easily become cluttered. Use both facing pages of an open A4 notebook to set out your concept map and allow plenty of space for adding ideas and symbols.Begin in the middle of the page and add ideas on branches that radiate from the central idea or from previous branches.Arrows and words can be used to show links between parts of the concept map.Colour and symbols are important parts of concept maps, helping illustrate ideas and triggering your own thoughts.