The Somewhat Answers to Good Note-Taking


Courtesy Samantha Manahan

By Samantha Manahan

Being a college student, it’s safe to say I have written many notes during my time in school: lecture notes, textbook notes, but mostly to my friends.

Although I wish I was kidding about writing notes to my friends, I have written hundreds of notes on school-related topics. I would even consider myself a pre-professional, like a stenographer in the courtroom writing down key details in shorthand to help a reader get the best understanding of what the story was addressing.

Below are some of the tricks I’m using to help me get through the pesky college courses I’m taking this semester.

Separate Notebooks for Each Class

Although this may seem silly to note, many kids in my class use the same notebook for multiple classes. My boyfriend, as an example, has one or two notebooks for the five classes he attends. The minimalist way of life may work for some aspects of life, but when it comes to college, the best way to organize all the irksome definitions and details is to dedicate one notebook for each subject.

Labels: Chapter and Section Titles

Labeling the beginning of each page is important for good note-taking. It may seem unimportant, but using a title for sub-headers will allow you to come back to a section at a later date to understand what topics are being introduced. Labeling will give your notes a more organized and fluid

Organizing with Color

I think it’s safe to say most people like to look at pretty things. I take sloppy notes in class and then as a way to revise or study my notes, I rewrite them in colorful fonts or drawings to make my notes more appealing to me. When I come back to study or revise, I won’t be looking at a boring sheet of paper with pencil scribbles; I’ll be looking at a well-revised, drafted and beautiful set of notes.

Read the Text and Actively Listen in Lecture for Notes

Again, people may read this title and think to themselves, “Well, duh.” However, many students don’t read the text or listen to the lecture thoroughly.

I see many posts on Twitter saying, “Teacher: the assignment is to read pages… Student: sweet, no homework!” And I used to be one of those people until I realized how important it is to understand the material if you want to pass the course.

Vocabulary, names of important people and the dates of which the timeframe is held is important to list in your notes.