Developing Your Students’ Note-Taking Skills

The ability to properly take notes is a crucial skill for all students. It can directly affect other areas of student performance such as test-taking, studying, and participation. Note-taking is a skill that not only determines success in the classroom, but also in the workplace and in personal activities. As a teacher, it may be difficult to monitor note-taking for all of your students. Some students may have a natural ability to stay organized while others may need more help to enhance their note-taking skills. Use these tips in your classroom to improve your students’ note-taking abilities.

Consolidate their notes

Before you begin your lesson plan for the day, provide your students with index cards. Throughout your lectures, allow them to take notes regularly. Once you’ve gone over a decent amount of material, ask your students to transfer their notes onto the index card that you provided. They will be forced to consolidate their notes and decide on what information has the most value. This is a great way to teach students how to prioritize. Students are often in situations where excess information is provided at a very fast rate. Obviously, all of this information cannot be noted at once, so they must create an organized outline consisting of the most important pieces of information. Practicing this skill at an early age will definitely help them excel once they reach college-level courses.

Let students teach each other

At the end of the day, let students trade notebooks with each other. Ask them to review their classmates’ notes and discuss any differences and similarities. Students will feel the need to improve their note-taking once they realize that someone will be reviewing it. Sharing notes also gives them the opportunity to learn from each other. Students can implement note-taking strategies that they’ve seen in their classmate’s notes in an effort to improve their own notes.

Lead by example

Show students your ability to prioritize your work and organize your lesson plans every day. When creating handouts, make sure that they are outlined neatly to increase student comprehension. When writing on the board, keep your notes organized, showing students how to take notes of their own. Take advantage of the many opportunities you have throughout the day to display proper organization and note-taking skills.


The ability to take proper notes is a skill that will help students beyond the classroom. Great organizational skills can set the foundation for a successful student. If you have any teacher tips for note taking, leave us a comment below!

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