Everything you need to know to take better notes this year

Whether your school has started or not, you may be starting to feel a little anxious about BTS season. Especially with the unpredictability of this year and the possibility of returning to online or in-person instruction, it is really stressful to think about getting back into the swing of things with tests, homework and tough class lessons.

If anything, this is the *perf* year to be super prepared and organized with all of your notes and papers! Here are some simple yet effective tips to master note-taking for both in-person and online classes to make sure you kill it this school year. 

Typing vs. Handwriting 

Many schools now provide students with access to laptops in school, so one of the first decisions you might have to make is whether to take notes on a blank computer doc or the old fashioned way with a notepad and paper.

You should honestly follow whichever strategy helps you focus better, and stick to one method for all of your classes so that you have all of your notes in one place. If you do type up your class notes on a computer, it is definitely helpful to print off a copy on paper so you can read them over without your eyes getting tired of the screen! 

Color Coding = Your new BFF

Organizing your class material by color will make your notes more aesthetically pleasing *and* easier to study! Buy a pack of different-colored gel pens and give each section of your notes a designated color: pink for important vocab, green for examples, blue for section titles, and on and on through the chapter.

Following this method when taking notes on a textbook chapter or class lecture will keep you paying attention and make your notes more exciting to look at: a true win-win! 

Separated notebooks 

As simple as this tip may sound, keeping separate notebooks (or separate sections within the same notebook!) for each course you take is super important to make sure that you organize your work.

When you review your notes after class, they will follow in chronological order and be easy to understand for each subject. Mixing all of your notes will leave you confused and disorganized—two *very* big obstacles to getting good grades! 

Use Post-Its for important pages 

Did you know they make mini Post-It notes? They are super helpful when you have a thick notebook full of class notes and need to remember where specific terms or concepts are located.

You can label a post it for the first page of each unit within the notebook and use them for easy reference, or to point you to pages that you need to study more before the next quiz!

Consistent abbreviations 

Sometimes, if your teacher is talking too fast, it's hard to keep up and get all the important info written down. This is where abbreviations can come in handy, and you can develop your own set of abbreviations for your notes (if someone ever borrowed my lecture notes they would see lots of ("w/" for "with," "4" instead of "for," arrow symbols instead of "higher" or "lower," and tons of others).

If you decide that you want to use a certain abbreviation, though, make sure you know what it means and that you use it consistently across your notes! If you create multiple ways of shortening the same word, it could get really confusing to read it back. Using your own code of writing will keep your notetaking fast *and* efficient!

We are wishing you the best luck this BTS season! Let us know how you are feeling about classes starting up again on Twitter and Insta @girlslifemag.

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by Lexi Casazza | 9/3/2020