How to Take Notes


Note Taker Profile

Most people are not naturally good at taking notes for someone else. It takes a unique personality to be able to sit in a lecture and pay attention as if it were your own class. It’s one thing to copy down information and words as you hear them. It’s another matter entirely to track with the flow of the lecture and organize notes accordingly. A good reader notices which points the lecturer emphasizes and elaborates more upon these points. They actually listen with the goal of comprehension, and their notes reflect this. This equips them to take the kind of notes that I would take for myself, notes that are cohesive and logical.

Unfortunately, there are many cases in which disabled students are assigned unsatisfactory note takers. I have heard stories, in addition to my personal experiences, of note takers who do next to nothing during lectures and expect to be paid all the same. I find this totally unacceptable. It is important for the disabilities offices to realize such things happen, and to stand on the side of the disabled student.

Establishing Communication

Note taking almost always happens in settings where the student and reader cannot talk to each other out loud. Therefore, the student and reader ought to establish forms of silent communication to give instructions and feedback. For example, my readers and I have an agreement that one tap on the shoulder means, “This is important. Make sure you write this down,” and two taps mean, “I don’t understand this. Make a note to return to it later.”