Take Effective Class Notes

Watch and Learn

Do your notes look like they're written in a foreign language? This video deals with how to take better and more effective notes! Note-taking should be an act of learning, instead of just mindlessly copying everything your teacher says. Sharpen those pencils, folks, 'cause there are three note-taking tips to help you retain all the information you learned!

If you do not see the video, please click on the link to view it in a new window or tab (you will leave this page):

How to take great notes

Top Tips for Taking Great Notes

    • Sit in a good place that enables you to hear the lecturer and be away from distractions.

    • Prepare yourself by doing the reading for the lecture beforehand.

    • Don’t be tempted to write down every word from the lecture. Try to listen as much as possible.

    • Ask questions or write them down for later!

    • Listen for key words and write them down. Immediately after the lecture, review your notes. Try to reduce each line or segment of notes into one keyword. 

    • Review and clarify notes right after class. Organize your schedule so that you have some time right after each of your classes to review your notes.

    • Test your recall using only keywords.  Cover your “Notes” with a sheet of paper, but leave the “Keywords” visible. Looking at your keywords, try to recall as much of your class notes as possible. Talk out loud if you want or just write down what you remember. When you’re done, uncover your notes section to verify what you said or wrote down.

    • Synthesize notes into a master outline. This requires you to look at different bits of information, figure out the main ideas and how they relate, and organize them in a way that makes sense.

Take Effective Notes

Enhance your Learning

Learn a great way to take notes from lectures, books, video, or anything else.

If you do not see the video, please click on the link to view it in a new window or tab (you will leave this page):

Cornell Notes

Enhance Your Wellness

Have you ever compared your focus and attention on days when you are physically active with days that you are inactive? Chances are, you will have better concentration and more energy when you incorporate some activity into your life. Find out more about benefits of exercise and make a plan to get active!

If you cannot see the video, please use this link to open it in a new window or tab (you will leave this page): https://youtu.be/aUaInS6HIGo.

For more wellness resources, see https://services.viu.ca/counselling/health-wellness-resources.

Student Support Areas

English language support
More information about English language tuition available to all our international students in degree + certificate programs.

Specialist support
Help available for students with dyslexia, physical disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders or long-term medical conditions.

Counselling Services
Groups and workshops on study skills.

Get the most out of studying

Get the Most From Your Classes

Tips on better note taking, reading strategies and learning online

Value for Me?

The Value of Note-taking

  • First, taking notes helps to identify the important ideas presented in discussions and lectures.

  • Second, the information given in class may not be available elsewhere and the lecture may be their only opportunity to learn about it.

  • Third, instructors usually formulate quizzes and examsbased upon the important points covered and emphasized in class.

  • Fourth, good notes provide an efficient way to review and remember what they need to know to do well on tests and will serve as a handy reference for any future applications they may have.

Technology Integration

Evernote: Best Web-clipping tool you can find
for formatting text, embedding tables, files and pictures, and for recording audio and video as part of your notes

OneNote: Microsoft’s note-taking program 
for drawing, recording audio and video, scanning images, embedding spreadsheets and reviewing the edits of others.

Notability: annotate and submit your assignments on the iPad