Taking notes during a lecture is a highly demanding skill and creates problems for students who are learning English as a second or foreign language for academic purposes. This experimental study was conducted with adult learners receiving an intensive English language teaching program. The study was designed to promote effective strategies of listening, familiarize the students with note-taking conventions, and make note-taking relevant to students for the world outside the classroom, such as their target faculties which offer English-medium instruction, through developing appropriate note taking tasks. Findings obtained from pre- and post-test results as well as authentic lectures revealed that the students were able to reach a stage where they could take notes selectively, confidently and independently. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.