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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Notetaking Tips

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Tips for Good Notetaking

As a notetaker, you are responsible for providing class notes to a student with a disability. This means that if you are unable to attend a class session, you must obtain a copy of the class notes for the student. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you find a back-up notetaker in the class that you can call in case you can't be in class to provide notes for the student.

  1. Be on time. Many professors give important information during the first five or ten minutes of the class.
  2. Ask for feedback. Talk with the student about the quality of your notes. Encourage the student to give you suggestions on how to improve the notes for his/her use.
  3. Be unbiased. Don't interject your opinions in the notes.
  4. Place the student's name, course title, and the date at the top of the page.
  5. Clarify each page with a number and title.
  6. Write legibly. Ask the student if your writing is clear enough to understand.
  7. Leave blanks if you are unsure, or miss something the instructor says. Fill it in later and ask the instructor for clarification. If you are not sure of the spelling, write sp? above it and correct it later if possible. Note the important technical terms that may show up on an exam.
  8. Use white space effectively. If you space out the main ideas, the student will be able to process the notes more effectively.
  9. Make points for emphasis. Underline important words and phrases or use any marks such as asterisks, stars, circles, etc. Discuss different possible styles with the student.
  10. Use examples given by the instructor. Include diagrams and illustrations given on the blackboard or on charts brought in by the instructor. Be sure to indicate where the information was obtained.
  11. Organize the information in the best way for the student and yourself.
  12. Include as much as possible. If there is class participation, try to summarize the discussion in your notes.
  13. Use abbreviations only if the student is familiar with them. You may work out a system with the student to abbreviate commonly used terms. In any case, ask his/her preference.
  14. Rework the notes later. Leave margin space as you are taking notes so that you may make additions or clarifications later.
  15. Be flexible. Continue to work with the student in determining the best way to include classroom information.

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