One of the most vivid memories I have about college was having frequent thoughts of, “I wish the instructor would slow down! I can’t write fast enough!” This would then lead to anxiety and frustration as I could never be as accurate as a tape recorder. Little did I know back then that I didn’t need to be a tape recorder nor did the instructor expect me to be a tape recorder. I just needed to be a good note taker.

Good Note taking skills can be learned

Good note taking skills are not traits people are born with, but rather good note takers practice and hone their note taking skills. Good note takers can not only record the most important information during a lecture, but also remain actively engaged in the class. If you are a student who currently feels each and every single word an instructor says must be written down, you just need to build up your Note taking Survival Kit.

Building Your Note taking Survival Kit

The main point to remember when building your Note taking Survival Kit is that your kit will be unique to you and no other person will have the exact same kit that you have. If there’s a note taking skill in your kit that does not help you get down the key points and remain engaged in class then take that skill out. Finally, your Note taking Survival Kit can also be used for online courses. If an instructor posts a lecture video and or includes lecture notes, apply your same note taking skills to your online course.

The following are a list of note taking skills you can apply to your Note taking Survival Kit:

  • Read your text prior to the instructor discussing the topic in class
  • Be on time for class
  • Engage your listening skills once the instructor walks through the door
  • If the instructor repeats an idea and/or topic WRITE IT DOWN
  • Take notes, not dictation. This means take out words such as “the’s”, “a’s”, “very’s”, etc.
  • Develop abbreviations and leave out vowels. For example, says=saz, days=daz, between=btwn, among-amng, patient=ptnt
  • Use indentation and skip lines when taking notes. This will help space out your notes and keep you from feeling overwhelmed with too much writing on one page
  • Meet with classmates after lecture to review notes. This will help you make sure you have included all of the important information that was just covered in lecture

Note Taking Services at FRCC

Note taking services are available to qualified students whose disability affects independent note taking in the classroom. For more information, contact the Disability Services office at your campus.


What note taking tips do you have? Share them in the comments below!


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