1. Prepare for class by completing assigned readings (if they are provided) or read ahead in your text book (a course outline would let you know if chapters are to be skipped).
2. Make use of a Note-Taking Method to take notes (include date and title of lecture). Store in a three ring binder.
3. Choose the most appropriate note-taking method for the type of delivery. For most lectures the Cornell Method will suffice and is a good place to start for note-taking novices.
4. Pay attention. Not only should you note the information provided by your instructor, you can often figure out what is a main idea, a supporting idea, or examples. Some instructors are quite obvious as to what will likely be on future exams.
5. Listen for
a. Main Ideas,
b. Supporting Ideas, and
c. definitions, facts, examples, etc
6. Use "short hand" as much as you can. See examples from left hand menu.
7. Not sure/don't understand? Make the best notes possible and then seek help after the lecture (friends, classmates, teacher, text, online).
8. MOST IMPORTANT: Review after the lecture. Do not leave your notes until the night before the exam. You will retain the information better if you review within a day or two.
Finally -- Stay Organized -- keep your notes in order and each course/class separate from the next.