Take effective Notes that help You be Determined and prepared for exams
I write often about effective note-taking tips and strategies because they are super important. Like cookies and milk, notes and exams naturally go together and it’s hard to ace an exam without a solid set of notes helping you prepare.
Unless, of course, you love being stressed out at exam time and clueless about what to study and how to do it. If so, then you should definitely NOT take notes. 🙂
To help you out, I have put all of the most effective note-taking tips together in one place. Right here. If you don’t have access yet to my free resource library, grab your login now. In there you will find a free note-taking cheat sheet with these tips and many other tools to help you excel in college.
Remember that study skills, like note-taking, are only one piece of being successful in college. Do you know what the most important factor is to college success??
14 Effective Note Taking Tips for College
- Create one central place to keep everything related to a specific course. This can be a paper notebook, Word document, or OneNote notebook.
- Organize your notes before you begin. Decide now if you will organize your thoughts by chapter/lesson or by main topics.
- Keep your system simple. We’ve all seen the fancy/pretty/time-intensive notes on Pinterest. (Are we Pinterest friends yet?) Don’t do those. Spend your time learning the content, not drawing pretty notes.
- Always keep your notes short. No paragraphs allowed. Incomplete sentences are encouraged. (When does a professor ever say that?)
- Preview the reading. Take 2 minutes and skim the material. Look at headings to see what the major concepts will be. You’ll know what you need to focus on and what you need to understand.
- Jot down facts new to you (terms, dates, names, etc.). By making a short note of these you are actually building yourself a custom study tool to work on memorization for the exam.
- Look for cues in the text. Words like “3 steps to…”, bold words or italicized words can indicate important information.
- Make note of questions you have about concepts. Flag it as a question and keep moving. This keeps you from getting stuck. You’ll be able to come back later and decide if it does make sense after reviewing more of the resource or if you need to dig back into the area.
- Build your notes in question/answer form. Use the objectives and/or headings to give you some starting questions. Work to answer them in your own words. These also convert really well on quizlet.com for easy review.
- Apply OneNote tags to make it review easier. Quickly tag content as a question, important fact, or terminology. Use the built-in search feature to quickly find all of your questions or other types of information.
- If you aren’t using OneNote, consider a digital system for taking notes. When you can pull your notes up on all of your devices it is easy to study on-the-go.
- When you finish a chapter or section, quickly revise your notes. Notes taken on-the-fly are not going to be cohesive or coherent. This is normal! Spend 10-15 minutes reviewing and revising notes after they are taken.
- Don’t stop there—constantly revise your notes. Remove a fact as you commit it to memory.
- Schedule a 10-minute comprehensive review session every day to look over your existing notes. Your comprehension will go through the roof with this strategy and final exam prep will be painless.
As you’re thinking about how your notes help to prep for exams, also think about how you approach tests with these two awesome test tips. What tip did I leave off of the list of effective note-taking tips? Leave a comment below and let me know what I should add to the list.
Try It Yourself: 10-minute Challenge
- Pick two tips from the list and put them to work during your note-taking session today.
- Absolutely use tip #14. Your mind will be blown by how much material your start to retain.
- Drop me a note below and let me know which tip is most helpful for you.