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Tips on effective note-taking!

How to take effective notes, by Tina Chen-Xu


 Note-taking is a valuable skill. Here’s a suggestion on how to improve your note-taking in Word by one former law student.

The importance of: Going to class

Unless your lectures are recorded, it’s important to try and attend every lecture. When you think about it, your student loan is paying for these courses – so by breaking it down and doing the math, lectures are expensive. You should treat yourself by getting your money’s worth by going to class. That being said, life happens and sometimes class isn’t an option – so make friends with people in your lecture and if they’re kind enough, they’ll send you their notes.

NOTE: When a lecturer calls in a guest lecturer, sometimes the content covered by that guest lecturer is ASSESSABLE. Go to class. Learn law life.

The importance of: Obtaining slide-show presentations from lectures

Depending on your lecturer, they may upload presentation slides before the lecture is given. DOWNLOAD them, SAVE them, USE them – this will provide an important framework for you to work through your note-taking when in class.

If your lecturer doesn’t use slides and likes the sound of their own voice… Record your lecture. Most smartphones are equipped with decent audio recording apps, so utilise them and save those bad boys for revision, and going over your illegible notes.


The importance of: Headings, colour coding, legible font

Here’s an example:
Guide to take notes

Here’s another example from actual notes:
Example of Notes

The importance of: Volunteer note-taking services at university

Three reasons why you should get involved with your university learning support services and offer to be a volunteer note-taker:

  • It’s an incentive to go to class,
  • You’re providing notes to a student in need,
  • Warm fuzzies

Below are some resources to access your university’s note-taking services.

The importance of: Revision Notes

The end of the semester approaches and it’s time to start revising – this is one way to organise your beautiful notes:

Case name goes here What are the key facts that distinguish the case? What is the law? What are important points you can bring from this case?

Here’s an example of this being applied:

Example of Case Revision Sheet