Why are notetaking skills important at university?

This is the first of three lessons about Notetaking. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Introduce the concept of notetaking in academic contexts

– Discuss the benefits of notetaking skills for students

– Explore some less common scenarios when quick and efficient notetaking would be helpful for students

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Lesson 1

Success at university doesn’t only require an intimate knowledge of the subject you’re studying, it also requires the development of certain language skills that help you to research, write and enter into academic debate. Yet in addition to the classic skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking, there are a number of lesser-known study skills that will also benefit your life as an academic, one of the most important of which is notetaking.

In this short three-lesson course on notetaking, we explore the benefits of this skill in Lesson 1 before focussing on the five most helpful notetaking methods that are available to students in Lesson 2. Then in Lesson 3, we turn our attention to the symbols and abbreviations that can quicken your notetaking, making it more effective in authentic fast-paced learning environments such as lectures and seminars. Once you’ve completed all three lessons, our lesson worksheets can then be downloaded to check your knowledge and improve your English proficiency.


What is notetaking?

Simply put, notetaking is the act of putting to paper the ideas, arguments or evidence that you’ve encountered during your studies. Notes may include paraphrases and summaries, they may include the direct words you read or heard, and they may include images, diagrams, mind maps, highlighting, or some other form of written or typed text:

In truth, there is no one set method or style of notetaking, and each student may develop their own techniques that suit them best.


How is notetaking beneficial?

Notetaking can help you with your studies in a variety of ways. It can help you to:

  • improve vocabulary and critical thinking
  • develop paraphrasing and summarising skills
  • increase subject-specific knowledge
  • engage and reflect on the topic
  • better memorise the subject content
  • gather information for an academic assignment
  • collect source details for accurate referencing

When might you need to take notes?

Because it’s not necessary (or practical) to take notes all the time while studying, a good student should be conscious of when they should and should not be doing so. By keeping a notebook, a tablet or a computer at easy reach, you should be able to respond quickly to information that requires jotting down. While seminars and lectures might be obvious occasions for academic notetaking, below are some less-common scenarios that you may find yourself in that require effective notetaking:

1 of 3 Lessons Completed


Once you’ve completed all three lessons in this short course about Notetaking, you might then wish to download our Lesson Worksheets to check your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks.

Lesson 1 explores the topic: Why are notetaking skills important at university? Our Lesson 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Lesson 2 explores the topic: Which 5 academic notetaking methods are best? Our Lesson 2 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Lesson 3 explores the topic: Do abbreviations and symbols benefit notetaking? Our Lesson 3 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

To save yourself 2 Marks, click on the button below to gain unlimited access to all of our Notetaking Lesson Worksheets. This All-in-1 Pack includes every lesson, activity and answer key related this topic in one handy and professional PDF.


There are currently no PowerPoint activities, additional teacher resources or audio and video recordings created for this topic. Please come back again next semester.

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Summer 2021