Note-taking tips to help you ace your next study session

It's no secret that school can be stressful sometimes. After spending the entire day keeping up with your stacked sched of extracurriculars and your busy social life, the thought of cracking open a textbook can be totally overwhelming. That's why it's so important to take good notes in class. Not only do you get to write in all your fave colored pens, but having your own reliable notes makes studying much less daunting. Here are some note-taking strategies that are sure to make your next study session easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Keep it organized

Keep all your notes in one folder or notebook so they are always easy to find. The last thing you want the night before a big test is to be shuffling through the bazillion papers in your backpack looking for your study guide.

Tip 1: Make sure to write neatly. After all, what's the point of taking notes if you can't read them later on?

Tip 2: Try to keep the material concise. Limit the use of long sentences and paragraphs and instead stick to short phrases and bullet points. This will make your notes more digestible and easier to remember.

Tip 3: Highlight key words and phrases to make them stick out and give your notes a pop of color!

Use visuals

Creating graphic organizers, diagrams or timelines can be a great supplement to written notes and are especially helpful for visual learners. Plus, you can get creative and make studying a little more fun!

Mind mapping in particular is a great note-taking tool. Mind maps typically begin with a theme or topic at the center of the page, with related phrases and ideas surrounding it. This can be done by hand, or you can find one of the many free tools available online (like to create one digitally.

Include notes to self 

Yes, technically *all* notes are notes for yourself. But this tip takes it one step further.

Write down information as it is taught in class. Any equations, formulas, important dates, historical figures and definitions should be written exactly as your teacher presents them to you. But in the margins, make notes to yourself—using your own words—on anything that pops into your head while learning. This could be a definition using your own slang, a funny joke or acronym that helps you remember something...or even a question. If anything is confusing, make a reminder to look back in the textbook for more information or to ask your teacher for clarification after class.

Often, by the time that big test rolls around, some of the information doesn't seem as clear as it once did. These helpful (and personalized) hints can serve as a good refresher.

Do what works for you

Remember, there is no one way to take notes. Some strategies work better for some students than others. Until you know what works best for your study style, you may have to test some different strategies out. But keeping your notes neat, creating visuals and making notes to yourself is a good place to start. Good luck on that next test, girl! We believe in you. 

Looking for more school advice? Check out these articles next:
🏫 Try these study hacks to end your procrastination habits
🏫 How to balance extracurriculars with schoolwork
🏫 How to tackle the Sunday night homework load

Share your best study tips with us on Twitter @girlslifemag!

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by Melanie Dowling | 9/29/2022