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Essential Study Skills

Taking Notes in Class

College students are expected to be able to capture the important information discussed in lectures. This module will discuss a few different note­-taking methods and it will give you some quick tips to help you get the most out of your classroom experience.


  • Stay organized.3 folder iconOrganizing your notes will make them easier to use when you need to study.
  • Take your own notes.Taking notes iconDon’t rely on slides and handouts from your instructor. Take your own notes for more complete information.
  • Make a buddy.2 people talkingIf you miss a class, ask a classmate if you can borrow their notes.

Note-Taking Methods

Taking good notes can help you when it’s time to review your material. Using note-taking techniques can help you do this.

The Cornell Method is a note-taking technique that can help you take organized and useful notes. Watch the video or follow the steps below to learn how to take notes using the Cornell Method. You can also download the How to Use Cornell Method video transcript.


  1. Set up your page: Divide your page into three sections: a Cue column on the left, a Notes column column on the right, and a Summary area at the bottom of the page. You can also use the Word Template or the PDF template.
  2. Start with the Notes Column: Take notes as you normally would in the Notes column.
  3. Fill in your Cue Column: Fill in your Cue column based on the notes you took in step 2. Use questions, key terms, and headings to help you quickly understand what the notes you took relate to.
  4. Fill in your Summary section: Summarize the notes from this page into one or two key learning outcomes.
To supplement your notes, you can also use Concept Mapping to help you understand a topic.

How to Take Notes Using PowerPoint

Watch this video to learn how to take notes using PowerPoint Slides. You can use these notes to fill in your Cornell Method template later on.

How to Use Concept Mapping

Watch this video to learn how to break down complex topics using concept mapping.

Cornell Method Templates

Concept Mapping Tools