How to Teach Students to Take Good Notes

Having to take notes forces students to pay attention to the teacher's explanations. With that in mind, we want to tell you how to teach students to take good notes.
How to Teach Students to Take Good Notes

Last update: 23 October, 2020

In order to have good academic performance, it’s not enough to just have a good memory to study and retain the information you need to learn. I t’s also important to show a good attitude in the classroom and try to make the most of the classes. One way to achieve this is by paying attention to the teacher and taking notes while they talk. But how can we teach students to take good notes?

In the following article, we’ll give you some recommendations so that, as a mother, father or teacher, you can help children or teenagers be better students.

“Students can improve their performance if they assume a positive attitude towards themselves, if they’re able to recognize their qualities and if they decide to take action to change situations that will lead to their performance as students or as individuals.

– Anonymous –

Benefits of taking notes in class

In the classroom, many times students get distracted during their teacher’s explanations. This can be due to many factors, both internal (worries, fatigue, tiredness, nervousness, etc.) and external (noise, peers, etc.), which can distract them.

A good way to prevent this from happening is for the students to focus their attention on taking notes. That’s because taking notes involves an extra effort that requires children and adolescents to concentrate on looking for the most important ideas in a lesson, while at the same time dedicating themselves to the following:

  • Capturing the logic of what the teacher is saying.
  • Comparing what the teacher says with the previous knowledge they have.
  • Looking for the usefulness of the information they receive.

In fact, even if students have a textbook to guide them and better understand the knowledge a teacher talks about, it’s still important to take notes in class. This is true even if they don’t use this information in their study sessions afterward.

In this way, they can better follow the explanation given in class and, in case they have any doubts, they can ask on the spot and solve them together with the teacher.

Paying attention to the teacher’s explanation in class is fundamental to achieving good academic performance and a better understanding of the information at hand.

With all of this in mind, we can say that taking notes is very beneficial for the following:

  • Understanding the main ideas to be learned.
  • Not becoming distracted and concentrating your mind in class.
  • Guiding reading.
  • Organizing information in a structured way.
  • Helping to write down answers to the exercises.
  • Remembering the information received from the teacher.

Teach students to take good notes

As we’ve said before, in order to take full advantage of the teacher’s classes, it’s necessary to take notes in an appropriate way. But how can we teach students to take good notes?

How to Teach Students to Take Good Notes

According to psychologist and pedagogue Rosa Serrate in her book Ayúdate a estudiar: Las claves del éxito escolar (Help Yourself Study: The Keys to School Success), to take good notes, you have to follow these instructions:

  1. Write down in the notebook or on a piece of paper the fundamental ideas of the teacher’s explanation.
  2. Make some sort of graphic, outline, mental map, or drawing of what is considered important and interesting from the explanation.
  3. When you finish, compare your own notes with those of other colleagues. Check that you’ve collected all of the information and complete it if necessary.
  4. Leave some blank space to complete the information when the teacher repeats some idea that hasn’t been completely clear.
  5. Use abbreviations in your notes and use quasi-telegraphic sentences to save time and write faster.
  6. Don’t write everything that the teacher says. Rather, try to express the information in your own words.
  7. Try to understand the information and reflect on the subject while taking relevant notes.

We hope that these tips to help children or adolescents will help you, as a mother or father, guide your children and that, when they’re in class, they’ll know how to take good notes.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Serrate, R. (2008). Ayúdale a estudiar. Las claves del éxito escolar. España: Ediciones del Laberinto.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.