I'm a freshman in college, so I'm pretty new to the lecture style of classes where you do most of the work outside of class, and the professor discusses it and gives more information in class. Well, to start the year I took notes basically word for word, concept for concept what my professor in any given class was talking about. However, I found later throughout the year that I didn't remember concepts that the professor was conveying because I was so busy writing. What should I do in the future? What has worked well for you all?

  • 2
    There is no one answer. Different people take notes best in different ways. So, if you get a list of suggestions here, try them and see which ones work best for you.
    – GEdgar
    Nov 11, 2015 at 22:13
  • Do a site search on note-taking. There are several other Q&As that you might find useful.
    – mkennedy
    Nov 11, 2015 at 23:24
  • There is a gadget, a special pen, you can buy that transcribes the lecture. I haven't tried it. Might be worth trying! // It would be helpful to know what sorts of classes you're taking. Nov 12, 2015 at 2:10
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    I think that this question has the potential to be a very valuable addition to the site; perhaps it can be edited to be a better fit.
    – Mad Jack
    Nov 12, 2015 at 13:22
  • Voting to reopen --- the purported reason for closure does not appear to be a real rule (and it is not mentioned in the linked page). This question is clearly about study habits that are relevant to academia.
    – Ben
    Mar 11, 2022 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


I'm a PhD candidate from Caltech and here are my tips:

  1. If it's a Math/Stat class, you should always bring a notebook and a pen to drop down the derivations and you have to review the notes immediately after the class; You should always make sure you are not lost in the middle of this type of classes.

  2. If it's a Bio/Chem or any class focusing on stories and concepts, you should always print out the powerpoints in advance and bring a laptop. So that you can highlight on the hardcopy and type fast on the text editor. The text editor on your laptop is very efficient when the lecturer refuses to hand out the notes. I'm still using my small netbook to take notes during seminars.

  3. If it's a CS class focusing on the codes/syntax, you should bring your laptop and have all the tools installed before the class. You should always type in the commands as the lecturer does and save all the commands together with comments which include your own notes. Those are very precious materials to your own benefit.

  4. Learn to use the short forms of words when typing: with as w/ without as w/o experiment as exp. statistically significant as stat. sig.

  5. Practice the ability to type without looking at the keyboard.

  6. Always have a good sleep.

Hope these help you


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