How to Write Notes Properly for College Students

Note taking is a very important exercise that we all have to do at least on a daily basis, whether in a meeting or inside the classroom. Nevertheless, when it comes to writing notes, you have to make sure that you come up with notes that are good enough for you to understand or even someone else, thus raising the question of how do we write notes properly?

Here, we will reveal the 6 most vital secrets when it comes to note taking:

1. Keep Your Notes Simple

When you start writing your notes, you want to write something that’s easy for you to understand. If not, then you have failed in whatever you were doing. So what’s the secret when it comes to keeping your notes simple?

Note down triggers and keep them short! Triggers are keywords that will help in jump starting your memory. They are words that paint a bigger picture and they are normally one-word phrases. A trigger is also something that actually matters, you can be writing triggers for everything that speaker is saying. Pick the most important things and assign a trigger to them.

Using symbols can also be another way of making your notes appear short and simple, and you can also index your notes so that they can be easier to find.

2. Find a System That You Like

Find a method of note taking that works best for you. To do this, you have to experiment with different methods until you find the one that you’re most comfortable with and make sure that you master it by taking a lot of notes using it.

For students, you may want to structure your notes as a hierarchy so as to see and understand the relationships between certain entities and it also keeps your notes organized. This method can, however, be a disadvantage if your teacher jumps from one topic to another with following their chronological order. With such a disadvantage, you need to employ the nonlinear methods of note taking such as mind mapping and the Cornell system. All this may prove to be useful to someone else.

The Cornell system uses a grid where you can easily write your notes down for descriptive essay topic and is most useful during lectures. The mind mapping method is where you have a central idea that branches to other ideas and can be associated with brainstorming and is great during meetings.

3. Don’t Focus On Outdated Techniques

In the past, people used to take notes by highlighting what they thought was most important to them or by underlining. Summarizing the content was also used heavily but all these required a lot of time and effort which seemed to be working against those who used them. They also proved to be ineffective.

Most of the new methods revolve around taking breaks and distributing your studies throughout different times. The use of the practice test is also another way that can assist in note taking for those of us that are still in school.

4. Collect Your Note Taking Equipment

This may sound like something pretty obvious but most people do fall victim and end up not having the needed equipment when they required! If you know that you’ll be attending a lecture in the afternoon, make sure that you have the necessary material that’s needed for you to take notes. Carry your pens or pencil, your paper which can be in the form of a notebook in which ever size that you may prefer with a lot of blank pages. For those that choose to use a laptop, make sure that it’s fully charged and do carry a charger and sit next to a power outlet.

To those that have a problem with their eyes or ears, be sure to sit in front and do not forget your glasses if you wear any together with a piece of cloth that you use to clean the glasses in case there is a need to.

5. Pay Attention

During note taking, you want to be as attentive as you possibly can. Switch off your phone or anything else that may hinder you from paying attention to the speaker. At this time, don’t make the mistake of writing everything that comes out of the speaker’s mouth down without really understanding what he is trying to convey. If you don’t understand anything, ask the speaker to clarify it. Try to absorb the information during the first time round so as to avoid being confused when you go through your notes later.

6. Takes Notes By Hand

The best way to take notes is by using your hands. This makes things easier for you in case you want to edit something out or add a few things. Also, using your hands makes you retain more information as compared to when you would use a laptop. If you use a laptop, chances are you will write down everything that’s been said thus you will not have time to synthesize the information.


There you go, these the 6 most important aspects when it comes to note taking. Go out and use them as many times as you can so as to be able to perfect your note writing skills!

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Richard Nolan is a writer and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of writing, blogging, entrepreneurship, and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers and students. Currently, Richard works as a general blog editor for EliteEssayWriters
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