Student Disability Services

Note-taker Tips & Tricks

  • Take some time to think about the upcoming presentation before you start taking notes. Make sure you listen for the "right" information so your notes will be of value when you review them at a later date.
  • Be sure to pay attention to the main points. Keep your notes concise and to the point. It is not necessary to write down everything you see or hear because you can go back later and add in additional information. You can use dashes for words when the speaker goes too fast and leave white space for details to be added later. Be sure to fill in the details as soon as possible after class so you don't forget important information.
  • Use symbols to call attention to important words. When an instructor says, "this is important", get the information exactly and be sure to mark it, i.e., ***. 
  • You can use your own words when taking notes but be careful not to change meaning. Abbreviations are fine but make sure you’ll understand them later.
  • When you make an error, drawing a single line through a mistake will save you time, and you may find out later that you actually need the mistake.
  • Be sure to keep your notes all in one place, and in proper order so they won't get lost or forgotten. 

SDS can provide the University-arranged note-taker with a carbonless paper notebook for hand-written notes; note-takers can also provide the student with copied or typed notes. Note-takers must be dependable and focused on taking timely, legible, informative notes. If both the student and note-taker agree, they should be introduced to each other; they should also exchange e-mail addresses or phone numbers in case there are questions regarding the notes. Remember: Not only is this an opportunity to hone your note-taking skills, but your experience also looks great on a resume!

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