Do not try to copy down every word! Taking effective lecture notes requires you to pay close attention to the information being presented and be able to pick out the main points and examples. You can then review your notes after the lecture, consolidate your understanding and identify points that need further reading or clarification.


Follow these tips for effective note-taking:

  • Pick out and summarise the main points, especially definitions.
  • Write legibly, use abbreviations and develop your own shorthand.
  • If you miss something, leave a space and complete later by checking with fellow students, tutors or textbooks.
  • Use headings and numberings to aid filing the notes.
  • Include brief details of examples, diagrams and references for further reading.
  • Review, edit, even re-write neatly, clarify anything you don’t understand  - this is important for consolidating the information in your memory.
  • Your lecturer may provide handouts – annotate them to add additional points, examples, your own viewpoints, questions you might have etc. 
  • File the notes properly – you will be glad you have at revision time!


Additional Help

The Student Liaison Officers have produced a short handout regarding attending lectures and note taking: