Best Note Taking Tips
We’ve all seen those incredible, super neat, and aesthetically pleasing notes floating around Instagram and Pinterest. It’s actually quite easy to achieve that look, even if you don’t have picture perfect handwriting and artistic skill.
Start out by creating a system of how you will be taking your notes, and make sure to stick to it! (Consistency is KEY!) This can be series of dashes, bullet points, numbers, roman numerals, arrows, or anything that will make your notes unique. When jotting down class notes always summarize the idea your teacher is explaining, this will help retain the information in your brain. Use your personalized system to take down all the notes you receive in class by hand on paper, digitally writing your notes, or even typing them. I found that if you have super neat handwriting, why not write your notes? And if you don’t have the clearest penmanship go for typing your notes. Either way, they can turn out looking picture perfect and leaving your classmates jealous.
Trouble with keeping up speed wise in class? Create your own acronyms, shorthand words, and symbols for your notes (Make sure to use a post-it to make a key to define each term or symbol). These shortened words and phrases can help increase your speed when trying to get down all of the important information in class. If you struggle with typing speed, there are a bunch of online typing tests to increase wpm rate (My personal favorite is https://www.typingtest.com/ ).
Next, create a color-coordinated system, this entails on using about one to three colors only on a topic. Otherwise, your notes will be overwhelmed by the color, and once you go back to study your notes you won’t be able to differentiate the colors and pick out the most important information. Some great highlighters are the Zebra Mildliners, and the Sharpie Clearview Highlighters. Maybe use a purple highlighter for all of your history notes on the American Revolution, and use that color to underline, highlight, and draw arrows in your notes. In your chemistry class maybe use green to emphasize the most important details when balancing equations. The possibilities are endless! Using a specific color on a page helps make your notes not only but looking clean and simplistic.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so why not draw a diagram? Drawing out elements of your notes can help add more to your study materials. Use flow charts to connect ideas, venn diagrams to compare and contrast, graphs for math and science, or even pictures for labeling. Don’t worry about being a great artist, the best tool to make diagrams look impressive is a ruler. Straight lines automatically make an overall cleaner picture.
Titles are a great way to make a simple page of notes look instantly impressive. These don’t have to be beautiful works of art, simple cursive headers and even colored titles really make a difference in the appearance of your notes. Get creative and explore all the different ways you can make new titles that make your notes yours. Don’t worry about making a fancy title in the middle of class, wait until you get home to add any embellishments to your class notes. This also gives you a perfect chance to review and summarize your notes after class.
So many simple things can make your notes look instantly impressive. Finding a note system that works for you can help make your time as a student easier and make studying a lot easier. The effort you put into your notes will transfer to your performance in class, you’re trying to make the information exciting and easier for you to learn. Overall, good notes can really make high school classes a little more bearable.