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8 Note-Taking Tips Guaranteed For More Effectiveness and Organization

Note-taking 101 guaranteed for more organized, effective notes.


Oftentimes, when taking notes (especially in social studies classes), it's hard to keep up with the teacher as he/she moves quickly through the powerpoints and lectures. It's extremely easy to get caught up in the franticness of the lecture and neglect the quality of your notes. Messy notes are (obviously) more difficult to read and makes it 10 times harder to understand when going back and studying them for assessments. It's even been scientifically proven that neater notes serve as more motivation and make students actually want to study them. I'm literally that girl in class sitting at her desk with 50 pens and highlighters sprawled across her desk, so here are some of the techniques I use when taking notes in class to maximize space and quality, and they work every time.

Use different colored pens.

A method I like to use when color-coding my notes is doing each section/topic a different color, or implementing a system in which different things represent different colors. I even go over the colors in highlighters to make important information stand out extraneous from the colored system.

Use different fonts and sizes.

Utilize different sized fonts to help important information stand out. I generally make headings the biggest, followed by subheadings, then general information. Adding different types of fonts or lettering can make your notes more eye-popping. I use brackets, highlight, capital letters, cursive, calligraphy, etc.

Create headers and sub-headers for different sections.

Creating headers and sub-headers makes it extremely easy for you to find exactly the section you're looking for. I always make my headers the class subject and big ideas whereas my sub-headers consist of concepts and themes within the big ideas. There are different types of header designs you can use to make your notes more appealing.

Utilize bullet journaling.

Bullet journaling is a great way to keep your notes organized. However, it is a more advanced technique and does consume more time than traditional note taking, but it is a common form of note-taking you would generally find under "aesthetic." You could even buy a bullet journal and take regular notes in it because the dots could serve as guides to help you even your letters or write in a straight line.

Keep a separate notebook/folder for each subject.

This is the first, easiest, and one of the most important steps when trying to keep your notes organized. If the notebook isn't designed to be multi-subject, don't use it that way. It's pretty clear why cramming notes from multiple classes into one 100 sheet notebook is not a great idea, and it's better to have space left over in the notebook than run out and have to start a new one anyways. I personally organize my notebooks and folders by class, so I have a blue notebook and a blue folder for math, a green notebook and green folder for Spanish, etc.

Use abbreviations, symbols, and bullet points.

When taking notes, generally, grammar and sentence structure don't matter. As long as you can understand what each symbol or abbreviation represents, this technique saves a ton of time when trying to take notes rapidly during a fast lecture. I even use bullet points to help me maximize time when I don't have enough time to write out the entire sentence.

Use post-it notes for relevant information that you don't want on the page. (Color code post-it notes!)

Sometimes, there's just information that's important but you don't want to be on your notes page. Using sticky notes to remind yourself for things such as assessment days or due dates for assignments can be extremely effective and you don't have to write these deadlines on your notes page.

Leave spaces in the margins or between lines to add information later.

I use this technique 95% of the time while taking notes; if I need to add additional information, it prevents my page from cluttering up. If I don't need to add information, I'll add a small visual or summary that would help me memorize, or even leave it blank and make the page look more organized and spaced out. Either way, it's a win-win.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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