Taking Good Notes


To identify key concepts. Taking notes during class is a great way to help you identify and reinforce key concepts in each course. These key concepts are likely to appear on exams, and professors will also expect you to reference them in short written assignments or term papers.

To master the material. Repetition helps to develop mastery of a task, whether it’s shooting hoops or baking a
pie. When you write down key concepts discussed in class, you reinforce important ideas in readings or lectures.

To focus. Your mind won’t wander if you are taking notes during a lecture or while you are reading.

To get better grades. Class notes are a useful aid in reviewing for tests.


Date and topic. Write down the class date and the day’s topic before the lecture begins.

What the professor writes. RCopy any material written on the board by the professor or shown in power point.

Main ideas. Write down the main points in your own words.

Leave blank space. You will want to add to your notes later.

Connections. Pay special attention to signal words: “First,” “Second,” “Next,” “Then, “Another important…”
Mark or underline any information that a professor emphasizes as being especially important to know.

Missing points. Even if the lecture seems disorganized, get down as many notes as possible. Indicate any gaps or
information about which you are uncertain, so you can ask a classmate or the professor for clarification later.


After class (within 24 hours). Make sure that you understand the material, and research any gaps. Do your
homework right after reviewing your notes. If you have a study group, review your notes together.

Before the next class. Reviewing your notes helps you remember the material and positions you for the next
lecture or discussion. If you find anything puzzling, confusing, or unclear, ask your professor about it in class or
during office hours.

Before tests. Review your notes to study for tests.

BMCC Writing Center

Front Desk (General Information)

(212) 220-1384

Franklin Winslow, Director


(212) 220-8000 x5167

Mailing Address
BMCC Writing Center

Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY

199 Chambers Street, Room S510

New York, NY 10007

Hours of Operation Summer ​2018

(May 30 – July 10)

Mondays – Thursdays
10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.