Note Taking Strategies for High School

6 Strategies for Taking High-Quality Notes

Anecdotally, I’ve found that the notes that my A students and my C students take during lectures are distinct from one another. This is something that I’ve observed in my role as a professor. One study found that students who took notes in an interactive manner were more likely to be engaged in metacognition (thinking and evaluating one’s thought processes and understanding) and self-regulation (managing one’s behaviours for optimal results) than those students who recorded what they heard verbatim. This was compared to students who recorded what they heard verbatim. Furthermore, these two processes have a greater potential to result in deeper processing.

The helpful news is that teachers may demonstrate to their pupils how to improve their note-taking skills. To make matters even more favourable, productive note-taking activities are, in and of themselves, learning processes that can assist students in developing their ability to engage in metacognitive reflection regarding their own learning and can enhance their capacity to remember information from the curriculum. A virtuous cycle!


1. Put some order on the blank paper. There have been a lot of research done to try to figure out how students should interact with their notes after class is over. One of them came to the conclusion that the most effective way to put lecture notes to use was to compose original summaries of those notes. The next best thing to do was to think of some new questions to ask concerning the information that had been presented most recently.

This is an excellent technique to direct your students in performing that task: Request that they draw a line down the middle of each sheet of paper that they will be using to create two columns. The width of one column should be equal to one-third of the total width of the paper, while the width of the other column should be equal to two-thirds. Tell the pupils to take their notes in the wider column, and instruct them to skip the small column entirely.

Students should utilise the blank column to construct questions or summaries regarding the topic after the class has ended. They should then use the questions and summaries to test themselves on the lecture notes.

It is recommended that questions be placed further up on Bloom’s taxonomy. Students should strive to come up with questions that are not merely factual; rather, they should focus on coming up with questions that require them to apply the information that they are studying (for example, “How could I use Dr. Rich’s article to improve my understanding?”) or integrate the information that they are studying with information that they have learned from another source (for example, “How is metacognition similar to critical thinking?”).

2. It’s critical to make time for things. Students can’t be forced to do this, but you should strongly urge them to schedule dedicated study time during which they can go over their notes, reread their summaries, and answer questions they’ve come up with based on their notes.

3. The pen is superior to the computer. A study that was conducted by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer found that taking notes by hand requires a higher level of cognitive processing than doing the same thing on a laptop or tablet computer. While typing on a gadget is mostly only a transcription, writing longhand requires you to summarise and evaluate the information.

4. Utilize the space in the margins. Students should put any comments or questions they have about the content while it is being presented on the edges of the paper so that they do not clutter the working memory of other students. Your students will be able to concentrate on the material at hand more completely as a result of this.

5. Rereading is an absolutely necessary step. Students need to provide further comments regarding the ways in which the textbook and their own notes can be combined when they go back and review both of these sources. For instance, the staff member can write a few words regarding the example that you used in class in the margin of the page where the textbook addresses a certain concept. They are able to add a new note about a spot in the textbook that illustrates a concept once the notes have provided a description of that concept. Because of the nature of this exercise, it is necessary for them to engage in more in-depth reflection on the ideas covered in the course, which should ultimately result in improved memory and comprehension.

In general, the more your students study to comprehend the ideas and overarching message of the content that you present in your class, the greater the likelihood that they will do well on the assessments that you give them. A test was coming up for two different groups of students who were taking the same college course at the same time as William Balch’s research. The instructor mentioned to the class that they will be getting an exam with multiple choice questions during one of the segments. In the other portion of the test, the students were informed that they would be required to complete either a short answer or an essay. In the end, every student was given a multiple-choice exam, and the ones who believed they would need to write long answers fared significantly better than those who had prepared for a multiple-choice exam.

Preparing for long-form questions led one group to focus on memorization of facts and words, while studying for multiple-choice questions led the other group to absorb and process material at a higher, more conceptual level. Students who had studied at that higher level were able to discern the answers to problems that required recollection since they comprehended the content for its purpose.

6. If you want to save time, use abbreviations. Encourage your students to come up with or find abbreviations that they can use for words that come up frequently when they are taking notes. For instance, they could write “b/c” instead of “because” or “chem” instead of either “chemistry” or “chemical.” This will help them take down their notes more quickly. They will be able to save a significant amount of time, which will enable them to record a greater quantity of the content as it is being provided.