How Detailed Should Class Notes Be?

Let us turn to actual classroom performance on the college campus.

A good rule to follow in taking notes is simply this: The notebook should represent an outline of the course, filled in with what actually took place in class. It should include some reference to class discussions, diagrams and other matters amplified from the textbook, and points introduced by the professor. It should include, for example, what appears to be his personal opinion about the better of two theories, and why! It should recreate the happenings in class as closely as possible, so that when the notes are reviewed, each class period can be recalled very clearly.

A large notebook is preferable to a small one because we remember to some extent by the “geography” of items on a page. (Those small spiral-bound, stenographic notebooks were developed for taking dictation, not for lecture notes!) A large notebook has fewer pages per lecture and therefore fewer “geographical situations” to keep straight.

By starting with an approved, logical method of note-taking, and experimenting with this as a solid basis, one can find out which system is best for him.

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