Weird College Laundry: Dry-cleaning, Hand-Washing & More Note-Taking Tips Part 2: What to Write

Note-Taking Tips Part 1: Keeping Your Notes Organized

March 6th, 2008 admin


Note-taking is one of those critical skills most people don’t really learn in high school. Here are a few basic tips that will help you get a handle on the note-taking process–and help you out when its time to cram later!

Class, Date and Time.

You might think writing the class/date/time at the top of your notes is a waste of time, but if your notes get disorganized, it is your best way to figure out which notes belong to which lecture-you can just compare the date to your syllabus.

Lecture Number & Title.

Especially helpful for profs whose lectures spill over into the next time class meets. Track the lecture number and title (especially if your professor changes lectures midway through class) so you can refer to the right sections of the book for backup.

Note to Self.

I am a big believer in the “note-to-self” aspect of note-taking. Writing notes to your future self saves a lot of time and confusion, and can help you keep from missing out on (or forgetting!) important information. Make sure you mark the following things down for your future self to review:

  • “Missed 1st 20 min of Lecture.” Mark down if you doze off mid-lecture, come in late, or leave early so you can borrow a friend’s notes & catch up later. I’ve missed quite a few test questions because of incomplete notes.
  • “Not sure what he said here. Sounded like Golgi?” If you didn’t understand something the professor said, let yourself know so you can look it up/check with a classmate later.
  • “***This WILL BE ON TEST***” If your prof gives you a heads up that something will be on the test, write it down!!! It’s like a free answer!
  • “See Diagram 9B, pg. 618” Instead of trying to copy down diagrams that are already in your book, just note the page number at the relevant point in your notes. If it’s helpful, copy it down later.

Page Numbers.

So basic, but numbering the corners of your pages is a lifesaver when you’ve been shuffling papers around during hours of studying (or if your roommate turns a fan on during a study session).

Photo: office tools 2 by lusi

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. bloggergal08  |  March 6th, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I have recently come across your blog and find the college tips helpful. I am a college student and live off-campus, so some of your posts about dorm life don’t apply to me now, compared to when I was a freshman living in the dorms. However I agree with your points and find it a fun read! I hope you keep it up.

    p.s. more study tips would be great (my midterms are next week).

  • 2. Jamie  |  March 7th, 2008 at 11:30 am

    @bloggergal08: I’m glad you’re enjoying the site! I’ve written a couple of posts about studying (see the archives to browse through), but you could also check out the Study Hacks blog for LOTS of study tips. šŸ™‚

  • 3. Kayla  |  March 7th, 2008 at 11:52 am

    You’re right, most people in HS don’t know how to take notes right. Somehow I learned to do it better then most of them. I think it’s because one or two of teachers from a senior class taught us how. You’re tips are definitely things that I can put into use.

  • 4. Jamie  |  March 7th, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    @ Kayla- that’s awesome, you’re definitely lucky you had those teachers to give you a head start. I had to completely revise my note-taking when I started college!

  • 5. Jake  |  May 20th, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Great tips on note-taking. I think people often overlook the value of organization for their notes. If they are well written (or typed) they can save a lot of time, and most of he studying will nearly be done for you if you have everything where it should be and easy to pull up right away.

    Good article!


  • 6. “Surviving College&&hellip  |  October 18th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    […] adviceĀ (as found in Relationships FromĀ High School to College)Ā to note taking techniques (Note-Taking Tips Part 1:Ā  Keeping Your Notes Organized).Ā  She does a very good job at providing solid information to share due to the fact she […]

  • 7. Maurice  |  April 16th, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Amen, Amen, Amen! So many students going to college don’t know how to effectively take notes. It is extremely important. If they are unable to effectively put the gist of a lecture or discussion on paper (or on their laptop), they could be in for a lot of disappointment at the end of the term. Thanks for sharing this.

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