The Importance of Note Writing

From the board room to the FAMILY room…find time to write notes…make it a priority…do it consistently…I promise you….it will reap far more many rewards than you could have imagined

Note-taking and Note-making

Note-taking is a passive process which is done at lectures whereas note-making is more active and focused activity where you assimilate all information and make sense of it for yourself.


Taking notes is an important process. It allows you to have a written record of the lecture which may not be in your textbook. It also ensures that you become an active and involved listener and learner.

When thinking about note-taking it is important to consider the lecturing style adopted by different lecturers. Some will prefer dictating, others will provide printed notes. If you are a Wits student you will also have the lecture slides.

A more important reason for taking notes is that there is a direct relationship between what happens in lectures and what comes up in the exam. If the lecturer does not personally set the exam, it is likely that he/she will still submit a number of questions.



 Once you have taken down notes in lectures, the learning process is not complete. The next step is the note-making process. Your lecture notes form the basis of your final consolidated notes and your entire examination preparation is based on these.


  • Underline or highlight important sentences or paragraphs.
  • Make sure you understand the concepts.
  • If you use the Cornell system, fill in the key words in the left-hand column
  • The main aim is to integrate your lecture notes with reading from articles, prescribed and recommended books or tutorials.
  • It is best to use your lecture notes as the basis of your integration and not rewrite these unless your handwriting is extremely poor.
  • Mind-map summaries can be made to give you an overall picture of the topic.