Open Notes


UDL 3.2 UDL 6.3

When test-taking, open notes is a strategy that a student can use to refer back to notes to answer questions on the test. Open notes typically refer to all notes that the student has taken on a given topic or during a unit lesson. However, the teacher and/or the IEP document may specify what notes can or cannot be used during test-taking.

Implementation Tips

Having an outline for taking notes may help a student to know what topics/concepts are important to focus on within the lesson/unit.
Peer Support
Students can be set up with peer note-takers who share notes. The student can still be responsible for adding to the notes during review, in class or for homework.
Notes can also be provided to the student prior to the lesson. The student can the focus on listening to the lesson and adding to the notes that are provided.
Technology Supports
When preparing open notes, be thoughtful about how student can take notes and what types of technology might help with taking notes (e.g. writing software, audio recording, assistive technology).


When reading a novel, a student can keep a daily reflection journal of events of the story, character development and understanding the themes of the novel. When taking a test about the novel, the student can refer back to his/her journal to respond to the comprehension questions on the exam.
During math class, a student takes notes during the warm-up of the math lesson of the day. At the end of the unit, the student can refer to these notes and sample problems when taking a test on these math concepts.
Students are learning about the rock cycle and have created a diagram for the rock cycle including the different types of rocks that are formed in each stage. During the unit test, the students can refer back to the chart/diagram that was created.

Related Strategies