Tips for Taking Notes

Note taking is an important skill to master as a college student. Taking fast and efficient notes will make all the difference when you are looking back at your course material before exams. Even though you need to take notes quickly, you need to stay organized and neat so you can easily refer to the material when you need to study. Here are some great note taking tips to remember for college:

  • Buy sturdy notebooks that won’t fall apart easily.
  • Write your notes in ink that won’t smudge or erase.
  • Always write the date on the top of the page before taking notes during each class.
  • Utilize shorthand when taking notes – complete sentences are not necessary for note taking.
  • If your professor assigns reading as homework, complete the reading before class so that you are prepared for the class discussion.
  • Don’t scribble or doodle all over your notes. If you’re tempted to, take a highlighter and go over the notes you’ve already taken. Keep things as neat as possible.
  • If you have time, transfer your notes to portable index cards to make it easy to use during exam cramming.
  • Pay attention to repetitive themes in your coursework, because these are usually signs of material that will be on exams.
  • Write neatly. If you can’t read your writing, your notes will not be helpful later.
  • Develop a consistent format when taking notes (header à sub-header, etc) so that all your notes look the same and are easy to refer back to.

Note taking is an important skill that takes efficiency and consistency. By becoming a good note taker you’ll be more prepared for exams and written assignments.

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