note-taking tips

Note-taking tips that actually work

Jul 2, 2021 | Career

Why are good note-taking tips so essential? First, developing good note-taking strategies is proven to help boost your GPA. Second, learning effective note-taking strategies can help you save time, energy, and confusion when it’s time to study for exams. And we all know how difficult exams could already be on their own, so why not make taking notes for them easier?

Prepping for a CLEP, DSST, or UEXCEL exam? Smarter with Achieve can help!

If you’re searching for new note-taking tips or new note-taking methods, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll share ten tips on how to make your note-taking more fluid and easier to understand so that you can face your next exam with confidence.

The Top 10 Most Effective Note-Taking Tips 

  1. Designate a specific notebook or document for your notes on each subject. Whether you use a physical notebook or the Notes app on your iPhone, make sure that you keep each subject separate. In other words, your notes for Sociology shouldn’t be in the same place as your College Math notes. 
  2. Organize your notes in a simple system. A simple note-taking system like the one developed by Cornell University is best. 
  3. Opt for shorthand instead of paragraphs. Keep notes in bite-sized, digestible fragments. Avoid using complete sentences and even paragraphs for faster note-taking. 
  4. Preview the course material. Before attending a course, the night before, review what the instructor will cover during the session. Take a few minutes to look over the material. Take a mental note of headings, unfamiliar terms, and any graphs or visual learning aids. Previewing the material will give you a good idea of what to pay special attention to during the course. 
  5. Write down your questions as you’re reading. As you’re reading, you may have questions about some of the content. Jot down any questions you have, and be ready to share them with your instructor. 
  6. Jot down any new facts you learn. If the instructor goes over anything you’re not familiar with during the lecture, make a quick note of it. Keeping notes this way will help you memorize new information.
  7. Do a little research. Research any new concepts, ideas, or terms during your study time. 
  8. Review your notes immediately. Review any notes you’ve written within 24 hours after the lecture. Immediately reviewing your notes will help the information ‘stick’ in your mind. 
  9. Revise your notes accordingly.  The notes you wrote on the fly during the lecture are not going to be cohesive or coherent. You should spend a few minutes revising your notes as you are reviewing them. 
  10. Review your notes every day. Make it a habit to review your notes every day. Your knowledge of the subject will improve plus it’ll prevent you from cramming on test day. 

That wraps up our tips. Mastering good note-taking may take a bit to get used to, but the critical thing to remember is that note-taking is a skill. What works for one person may not work for the next. That’s why it’s essential that you experiment and find the note-taking strategy that is right for you. We hope our tips help you better prepare yourself for your next course or exam.

Smarter with Achieve Can Help!

Do you need help prepping to test-out with CLEP, DSST, or UEXCEL? Smarter with Achieve can help.

Smarter with Achieve is an exam guidance company, which means we help you prep to pass CLEP, EXCEL, and DSST exams. 

Want to find out more? Contact one of our advisors today! 

have questions?

Speak with an advisor