Skills for Learning!      Listening, Reading and Note-taking
Revised: 08 August, 2009 10:51 AM                    Back to SET home page

A Google search of the term "note-taking" will produce more than 91,000,000 hits! This means that there is a LOT of information available dealing with this important subject. Why is it so popular and what why should it be important to you? The material below will attempt to answer those questions.

The primary purpose in having students attend class or read something is to convey information and enhance learning. However, as you have probably already discovered, not all classes are the same nor are all readings are equally comprehensible or equally enjoyable.

Fortunately there are a number of proven strategies which can help with the issues of listening, reading and note-taking which, if used properly, can enhance your learning experience and help you achieve your goals for any course.

Scholarly studies have clearly demonstrated that student achievement is increased when both a student's listening and reading skills improve and as well as how a student's note-taking ability impacts the learning process.  Those studies show that students learn more and feel that they achieved their goals for the course if they are competent in both of those areas. 

As you probably have already discovered, most readings assigned in college contain far more facts and bits of information than can be memorized by the average person, certainly after only one reading. This makes it essential for you to be able to both identify the KEY POINTS being made by the author/s as well as understand how those points relate to one another. 

One way many find helpful in doing this is to take notes while reading the piece or highlighting the page if possible. In a similar fashion, it is usually advisable to take notes during classes to help when reviewing materials for examinations or other purposes. However, there are ways of doing this which are better than others.

Depending on how a reading is presented by an author, it might also be helpful to number specific points made in the margin. Sometimes the material will be arranged in a way which will make it easier to identify the individual items and to discern how various points relate to one another although this is not always the case.

Anything you can do to help organize spoken or printed information will be helpful in learning the material. It is not usually possible for most students to grasp all the key points in an article after only one reading. Doing that takes considerable experience for most individuals and this means the more time you take reviewing materials, the better you will become at being an efficient and effective reader.

Many students have also found the TCNJ Tutoring Center to be valuable in developing learning skills not only for this class but during their entire collegiate experience.

      "The mission of the TCNJ Tutoring Center is to support the College’s diverse community of exceptional learners through individual and group sessions facilitated by peer tutors.  Tutors help students to excel in their academic programs by providing assistance in liberal learning classes, major courses, and electives.  Working with faculty and staff, the Tutoring Center fosters increasing academic independence among students.  Trained in principles of learning and collaboration, peer tutors facilitate student learning and support the teaching of TCNJ professors."

   Tutoring Center - 
   Humanities & Social Sciences Tutoring Services - 

The websites below are listed in their order of importance and should be reviewed in order to grasp the key concepts mentioned above. There will be a class activity utilizing some of these concepts aimed at helping all student improve their learning skills.

Related web sites -

Note taking -

Lecture and Class notes - 

Lecture notes -

Notetaking system -

Lecture notetaking - 

Taking notes from research -

Standard Documentation Formats  -

Types of notes -

Lecture notetaking -

Note-taking for research papers -

Lecture notes -

Reading and lecture notes -

Notetaking Strategies -

Listening and notetaking -