Peak Performance:
Success In College And Beyond

Chapter 5

Listen And Take Effective Notes


Chapter Objectives

•      Become an attentive listener

•      Utilize effective note-taking strategies

•      Take notes in alignment with your learning style

•      Describe the various note-taking systems

Success Principle 5

Focus on the MESSAGE,

not the presentation.

Listening To The Message: Attentive Listening Strategies

•      Prepare to listen

–  Be willing to listen

–  Be open to new ideas

–  Position yourself to listen

–  Reduce distractions

–  Look as if you are listening

Listening To The Message: Attentive Listening Strategies

•      Stay attentive

–  Be quiet

–  Stay focused

Listening To The Message: Attentive Listening Strategies

–  Show empathy, respect, and genuine interest

–  Observe the speaker

–  Predict and answer questions

–  Integrate learning styles and use all your senses

–  Postpone judgment

–  Don’t get caught up in drama

Listening To The Message: Attentive Listening Strategies

•      Review what you have heard

–  Paraphrase

–  Assess

–  Practice with awareness

Recording The Message

   Note taking is not a passive act of simply writing down words. It is a way to order and arrange thoughts and materials to help you remember information.


•      Prepare: Considering Your Goals

•      Organize: Getting the Tools of Notetaking Together

•      Work: Processing—Not Copying — Information

•      Evaluate: Thinking Critically About Your Notes

•      Rethink: Activating your Memory

Prepare: Considering
Your Goals

•      Identify the instructor’s goals and your goals for the course—Read the Syllabus

•      Complete assignments before coming to class

•      Be prepared to listen to a lecture…even if the instructor is not the “best lecturer”

•      Review the previous class notes

•      Choose a seat in the classroom where you can see and hear

Organize: Get the Tools of Notetaking Together

•      Bring the appropriate writing utensils and paper to class

•      Choose the right type of notebook (loose-leaf usually preferred)

•      Write on only one side of the page

•      Take textbook to class

•      Consider taking a laptop computer to class

Work:  Processing—
Do not Copy Information

•      Active listening is different from “hearing”

•      Listen for key ideas

•      Search for the meta-message

•      Listen for repetition

•      Look for nonverbal signals

•      Use short phrases, not sentences for notes

Take Notes in Outline Form

I.       Key Concept

   A.  Main Idea

1.  Supporting Idea
2.  Supporting Idea
a.  Specific details
b.  Specific details


Outline a Lecture

•      Copy information from board or overhead

•      Use different notetaking techniques for class discussions

•      Listen carefully during discussions for important ideas

•      Pay attention to instructor’s summary

•      Ask questions

Improving Notetaking
Getting Over Stage Fright

•      Sit in front of room

•      Write down question before you ask it

•      Participate early in the semester by asking questions

•      Don’t wait for someone else to ask the first question in class

Evaluate: Think Critically about Your Notes

•      Do your notes represent what was covered in class?

•      Do they reflect the emphases of the instructor?

•      Are there any key points that are not clear?

•      Do any points need to be clarified?


Rethink: Activate Your Memory

•      Transfer information from short- to long-term memory by rethinking the class lecture

•      Use the 2 ½ inch column on the left-hand side of the page to jot down keywords, significant points, major concepts, controversies, and questions

•      Create study notes that summarize key points

•      Use flashcards

The Cornell System of Note Taking

•      Logical

•      Sequential

•      Step-by-step

–  Notes

–  Cues

–  Summary



Rethink: Activate Your Memory

•      How many times have you said, “I don’t need to write it down, I’ll remember it?”

•      How many times have you remembered the information?

Mind Maps

•      Visual

•      Holistic

•      Associations and patterns

–  Main idea in center

–  Branches with subtopics

Concept Mapping

Taking Notes as You Study

•      Highlight, underline, circle and make notes in the margin of your text

•      Make flash cards (online courses often include these cards)

•      For magazines or library books, copy down key ideas, definitions, formulas in outline or concept mapping form


Recording The Message

Combination Note-Taking Systems

•      Highlighting

•      Organizing

•      Comparing

•      Contrasting

•      Looking for


Note-Taking Strategies

–        Preview the material

–        Go to every class and pay attention

–        Be on time

–        Sit up front

–        Use all your senses


–        Make note taking active and physical

–        Link information

–        Use creative shorthand and focus on key      words

–        Organize your


–        Use note cards

–        Expand on notes

     from others

–        Use your laptop

Assess and Review Your Notes

–         Summarize in your own words

–         Edit and revise your notes

ό     Review as soon as possible

ό     Review within 24 hours

ό     Review often

–         Create a sample test

–         Use visual cues

–         Review your notes

–         Monitor and evaluate

Overcome Obstacles

–  Find meaning and interest

–  Observe

–  Listen

–  Organize

–  Think

Recording The Message

–  Record

–  Review, revise, and practice

–  Evaluate

–  Teach

–  Reward

Peak Performance:
Success In College And Beyond

Chapter 5

Listen And Take Effective Notes