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University of Newcastle Library guides

Note taking in lectures and tutorials: Methods of Note taking

Get some great strategies and tips for taking notes in lectures and tutorials

Methods of Note taking

1. Taking notes on lecture ppt slides

If the slides for a lecture are available beforehand (eg posted on your course Blackboard site), you can print the slides in a format that suits your note taking purposes. There are options in Power Point to print multiple slides on a page, from one slide per page to nine. Three slides per page  will make it easy to write notes next to each slide as you follow the lecture.

notes on slides

Sometimes the lecturer will put their own notes into the notes section of the Power Point slides. You can print these out via the 'notes' printing option. You can also write your own notes into the notes section, either on the printed page, or electronically if you are using a lap top or tablet to take notes.

Or try this idea if you have a lot of slides to manage.

2. Cornell Method of Note taking

This is a widely used method of taking notes. Before the lecture divide your page into four sections. You may like to prepare a number of pages in a note book, or use this template on every second page of a note book leaving space to write additional notes after the lecture.

Layout of Cornell Note taking template

Lecture Details: Course             Date                                  Topic

Recall column


Key words





Notes column

Write your lecture notes here:-

  • main ideas, information, examples
  • write in point form and short sentences
  • use symbols and abbreviations
  • add diagrams and drawings

Record your own thoughts and questions



After the lecture review your notes and write a short summary in your own words.


3. Mind Maps

Mind mapping is a useful technique to use when you want to organise ideas and information as you follow the lecture. It can help you develop your own understanding of topics, as it allows you to explore the relationships between ideas, and begin to critically analyse the information presented in the lecture

As with all note taking methods, reviewing your notes immediately following the lecture will make revision for exams and quizzes more efficient.


notes mind map

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