How to take notes

Taking notes is fundamental to being able to keep a good grade in

Best Self Blooming is an advice blog that covers all aspects of high-school life.

Photo T. Philips

Best Self Blooming is an advice blog that covers all aspects of high-school life.

Emersyn Brown, Staff Writer

Color-coded notes are a great way to organize your notes.

When you get home, you try to study for your upcoming test, but unfortunately, you have no idea what you’re doing. You try and look at your notes because they have to help you, right? You must have the worst luck because even though you took notes you still have no idea what’s going on. This is where a good note taking method comes in handy.

Statistics show that writing out your notes ingrains more information into your head and you also write down a lot less. Now, writing less may seem like a downside but if you’re writing less that means you’re listening more. You want to be able to look at your notes later and actually be able to follow them. That takes knowing how to take notes and I’m here to help with that.

When you’re in class, you need to be prepared. Have enough paper (it doesn’t have to be the best), a pen that you enjoy writing with (being able to enjoy this makes it a lot easier) and highlighters (color adds interest). Now that you have the bare minimum supplies, you can start taking notes.

Taking notes requires concentration. You have to be able to listen to the teacher and take in the information. That’s the only way that you’ll be able to take adequate notes. If you’re able to sit where you want in the class, move towards the front. This ensures that you have enough quiet to focus on what the teacher is saying and you can clearly see what they’re doing in front of the class.

Writing your notes down shouldn’t be about getting every word that your teacher says. Your notes should be the information that is pertinent to any test or quizzes. If your teacher puts emphasis on a certain section they are teaching, you want to pay more attention. You need to be a little more detailed with your notes.

Being detailed in your notes takes practice and there is no time like the present to learn how to do it. Being detailed is a very subjective thing; one person may believe it to be writing every little piece of information down while another may believe that you just need to write a sentence for the topic. Hint: there is a happy medium between the two.

When you’re listening to your teacher, pay attention to keywords that they bring up again and again. Take notes on these words because they will probably make an appearance on your test. You need to make sure that you take enough notes to be able to recall the information you need. However, you never have to write down full sentences. That wastes time and takes up space on your paper that could be used for helpful diagrams and other things of that sort.

When thinking about how you wish to format your notes, look for some inspiration. There are many Instagram accounts dedicated to taking notes and showing you their spin on note-taking. You don’t have to do exactly what they do but you can use it as a rough guideline so you won’t be completely starting from scratch.

When you’re first trying to get into taking notes don’t go all out. Make sure your notes are brief and contain only diagrams and words you need. There is no need to do fancy titles and pretty color schemes. All you really need to start is color coding ( which is different from a color scheme) and a pen/pencil.

Use highlighters and colorful pens for color coding. It will make it easier to identify everything on the page in the long run. For instance, make all vocab words purple so they stand out and highlight main topics with green. This makes for easy identification for when you go back and try to study later.

Using small tips and working smarter, not harder, will give you the upper hand and allow you to take it easy while studying.