Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | September 11, 2009

STAR Note-taking Strategy

~ obtained from the Pleasanton California Unified School District website ~

STAR Note-taking Strategy


S= Set Up Paper 1. Put name, class, and date in upper right-hand corner.
2. All notes need a title.
3. Draw a vertical line down the length of the paper about one-third of the way from the left edge (~ 3″), creating two columns.
T= Take Notes in Right-hand column 1. PARAPHRASE the text or lecturer in the right-hand column.
2. Use active listening to decide important information. If the lecturer strays from the topic, don’t be fooled. Write down only relevant information.
3. Use whatever it takes to cue your own memory system.  You may, for example, use capitals, printing, underlining, arrows, or even pictures.
4. Don’t get hung up on spelling.  If you know what you meant that is all that counts.  Later, if you include this information in an essay or other type of work, you will check a reference for proper spelling.
5. Use abbreviations that work for you.  Develop your own shorthand.
A= After Class 1. Within 5 minutes of class, or as soon as is humanly possible, edit your notes.  Reread them looking for places to make additions, deletions or clarifications.
2. Work with a partner whenever possible.
3. Use a highlighter or underlining to emphasize important points.
4. Note any points that need to be clarified with the lecturer the next session.
5. NOW fill in the left-hand column with QUESTIONS, ICONS (SYMBOLS and PICTURES), and/or MEMORY KEYS.
R= Review Notes 1. Review notes regularly: a) After class
b) At least weekly
c) Before the test
2. To review: cover the right column with blank paper. Either rewrite the right column or review ALOUD using the cues in the left column.
3. PARAPHRASE  answers.
4. Then REFLECT—summarize the notes, relating the subject to yourself and your personal experience.



See the links in the column to right under the category STUDY TIPS for further information about note-taking.

Also see The Great Migration II .

If you take notes using a laptop or electronic notebook, there is software that creates a Cornell note-taking template  (like the one used in the STAR notetaking system) availabe here as shareware:


  1. […] The STAR note taking system is another formulation of the Cornell Method.  Here is a link to the STAR […]

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