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How to effectively take notes to ace your classes this year

I love writing notes for my classes. I wish I knew why. As a Type-A personality, I get so much joy looking at my notes after my lectures and seeing my colored words below, straight and uniform. I have a fun, little notebook and I look forward to studying them during finals week. Yes, it might seem foreign to you, but keeping notes is a one-way ticket to an A+. Trust me, something I’ve learned in my first semester of college is to WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. You don’t know if it will be used on a quiz, exam, or a paper. To write effective, but Pinterest-quality notes, here are some tips to help you.           

Tip One: Find your Niche!

            Do you like to write your notes on paper or an electronic device? For me, writing information down helps me retain the material rather than typing it on a Word document. Experiment and find what works best for you! If you have an iPad and an ipencil, you can write your notes on an app.

Tip Two: Be Concise!

            When you’re in a lecture, you don’t need to get awful hand cramps writing your notes. Generalize the information you’re receiving and use special labels or contractions to help you recognize the topic. It’s not going to be fun studying when your notes are in a jumble. Also, date your notes so you remember when the information was taught.

Tip Three: Highlight!

            To add color and uniformity to you notes, highlight! Make a color code chart in your notes and decide on what colors you need to assign. For example, use the color blue to highlight information on the test or use pink to highlight vocabulary terms.

Tip Four: Look at the Syllabus.

            Before class, look at your syllabus and find out what you’re learning that day. It will help you find the learning objectives before class and write them down in your notes.

Tip Five: Keep organized!

            Whether you’re writing in a notebook or on your laptop, make special folders or places to keep your information. For me, having a notebook for each class helps me separate my schedule. Always include titles and dates into your notes.

I hope you try these note hacks to help you in your classes this year. May your notes be as beautiful as you. 

Jordan is a sophomore at Purdue and majoring in History and German, along with a minor in Forensic Science. Originally from Indiana, she loves drinking chai lattes, playing tennis, binge-watching Netflix, and spending time with her golden-retriever dog, Beau.
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