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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

We all start the school year off with a fresh load of motivation. By week two, though, most of that excitement for classes can start to disappear. Long lectures, boring homework, and stressful tests can all contribute to the temptation of procrastination. That loss of motivation can be avoided with small but simple routines in life! In the following article, I have a few helpful tips that could help not only better your note taking, but with studying and keeping up that motivation as well.

  • In-class notes: Taking notes in class can be stressful and unimportant to some, but over the years I have learned that lectures are where you’re going to discover crucial information. A lot of professors place a ton of notes up on slides, and all we do is write them down and zone out. If you do this, there’s a good chance you’re not going to get much out of the lecture; even with a page of notes. Instead, you should take handwritten notes. I can’t express what a difference it makes. Taking hand written notes allows for your brain to sink in the information being said. Try pretending you’re a journalist having to obtain important info that can’t be missed (It works!). If you know you tend to zone out, try using voice memo to record the lectures so you can listen to them later. In class, try not to worry about color coding every topic and note, but do the following: take a pencil/pen, a highlighter, and some dark colored pen. All you need to do is write head topics in a dark colored ink, write your notes in pencil, and highlight the most important info. You can then use those notes to guide you in assigned chapter readings or studying.
  • Outside of class notes: Sometimes your professor will assign readings before your next class, and they aren’t always fun, but they are important. Taking reading notes can be tricky, because knowing what to write down isn’t always subtle. Try checking your professor’s canvas or webpage, they may have noted which sections in the assigned reading they want you to focus on- that goes for sections in chapters as well. They might ask questions that they want you to learn from the reading, so feel free to ask your professor if they have any goals that they want the class to reach! When taking notes, feel free to color code. For example, you can write head topics in a color, subtopics in another, maybe add a vocab section, highlight hard-to-lock-in information, etc. Take your time when reading and studying, some chapters are long and unbearable as well as time consuming (trust me, I know).
  • Extra: Tips when studying: During the semester, there are going to be tests, midterms, and exams rolling in. Here are a few ways to set yourself up for success when studying. Not cramming, studying. Fill up on water and always have water by your desk. It’s easy to start stressing out when you’re thirsty or just dehydrated. Take breaks that match how long you’ve been studying for: Studied for twenty minutes? Take a five minute break. Forty five minutes? Take ten minutes to reset. Feel free to grab your pet as your study buddy. If you’re planning on pulling an all nighter, grab some hot coffee or green tea to help keep you focused. Finally, and most importantly, create a schedule and divide your time studying. It will take the stress from the idea of cramming, and help you be in a set schedule.

To wrap this article up, you can be the best student you want to be. You just have to create repetition in your studying, and focus on the reason why you are at school. If you put the work in, you will see the results you’ve always. Good luck to everyone going into this Fall Semester!

Vivienne Hughes

Illinois State '22

A future author for HER Campus! I love to focus around mental, physical, and emotional wellness, and all topics in are current day and age.