College Success Tip #2
Note Taking
What is note taking?
Note taking involves recording ideas and facts that you learn in class to help you remember and use them later.  The five R’s of note taking are as follows: Record, Reduce, Recite, Reflect, and Review.  Each term is defined at the Dartmouth Academic Skills Center page.
Why is note taking important?
  • You become an active part of the listening and learning process.
  • You create a history of your course content.
  • You have a written record to view or study later.
  • You reinforce what is communicated verbally.
Examples of note taking methods
I.        Preparing to Listen Effectively
A.  Read assignments before class
B.  Bring appropriate materials
C.  Pay attention
II.     Possible Listening Barriers
A.  External
1.  Hunger
2.  Climate
B.  Internal
      1.  Distracting thoughts
      2.  Stress
 Cornell System
Write questions in this area
Take notes in this area
Summarize your notes here as you review them
Tips for taking notes
  • Sit front and center in class.
  • Use only one side of a piece of paper. 
  • Label, number, and date all notes.
  • Review your notes.
  • Ask questions during or after instruction.
  • Participate in class discussions and activities.
Internal links for note taking
The Tutoring, Learning, and Computing Lab (TLC) on campus provides useful workshops on note taking:
External links for note taking
  • Dartmouth College provides an excellent resource for note taking with several useful handouts on their Academic Skills Center page and a definition of the 5 R’s of note taking:
  • Study Guides and Strategies offers a handout on taking lecture notes that includes the 5 R’s of note taking:
  1. The Community College Experience by Amy Baldwin (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005).
  2. Cornerstone: Building on Your Best, 4th Ed., by Robert M. Sherfield, Rhonda J. Montgomery, and Patricia G. Moody (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005).
  3. Becoming a Master Student, 10th Ed., by Dave Ellis (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003).
  4.  Study Guides and Strategies,
  5. Dartmouth’s Academic Skills Center,