Class Preparation: How to Take Effective Notes

Before Class Begins
Arrive 5 minutes early
During Class
Use your case briefs to record the important points made during class discussion.
Correct and/or add to your briefs. Try not to rewrite information that is already contained in your briefs.
Format Class Notes
Goal: Choose a format that will result in a set of notes that YOU will be able to use later for review.
Things to consider when choosing a particular format
By typing your brief, your handwritten notes will dramatically reflect how your understanding of the case changed or remained the same.

Your handwritten notes also signal how must time the professor spent on a particular topic.

What to Write Down

Hypotheticals/Examples posed by professor
What your professor writes on the board
Summaries given by professor at beginning or end of class (verbatim)
Rationale/Public Policy behind rules
Definitions and Rules
“Magic Words”

What if there is no resolution or conclusion to a question posed by a professor?

Make a note of the fact that no conclusion was reached and leave some space to fill in later.
Example of Notes - 2 inch margin on left.pdf17.29 KB
Example of notes - columns.pdf57.21 KB
Example of notes - split page.pdf55.47 KB
Example of notes - wide margin to right.pdf54.49 KB