7 tips for taking your best notes in class

Are you struggling to take effective notes in your college classes? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Not everyone naturally excels at note-taking, but it is a crucial skill for academic success.

In this article, we’ll provide you with seven valuable tips to help you improve your note-taking abilities and enhance your overall learning experience.

1. Come to Class Prepared

Before attending your classes, make sure to complete any assigned readings or homework. Being familiar with the material beforehand will give you a better understanding of what will be discussed in the lecture.

Additionally, remember to bring your notebook, pens, and highlighters to ensure you have all the necessary tools at hand.

2. Handwrite Your Notes

While typing notes on a laptop may seem convenient, studies have shown that handwriting can lead to better information retention. When you write notes by hand, you engage in a more active learning process, making it easier to remember key concepts.

To make the process enjoyable, consider using colorful pens or dedicating a separate notebook for each class.

3. Keep Your Handouts and Notes Organized

Your professors often provide handouts that serve as the foundation for your notes. To maintain a clear structure, align your additional notes with the outline provided in the handouts.

Keep all your lecture materials together, including handouts, class notes, and outlines. Label each set of notes with the date and the name of the corresponding class to avoid confusion.

4. Pay Attention to Important Information

Listen carefully to your professor during lectures, especially when they emphasize particular theories, events, or facts. Repetition or emphasis is often a clue that the information is crucial.

Make it a priority to jot down and highlight these key points. Your professor serves as a guide through the course material, so following their cues will help you focus on the most relevant information.

5. Develop a Note-Taking System that Works for You

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to note-taking, it’s essential to develop a system that suits your learning style. Experiment with different techniques, such as using abbreviations, symbols, or doodles, that facilitate the connection between ideas.

Avoid transcribing every word but focus on capturing the main concepts. Research various note-taking methods and adopt the one that resonates most with you.

6. Highlight Important Details

To ensure that important information stands out when reviewing your notes, use highlighters to mark key phrases, definitions, dates, and quotes. Highlighting helps you quickly locate critical points when studying for exams.

If you feel something is crucial during the lecture, trust your instincts and mark it for further review later.

7. Type Up Your Notes After Class

After attending your classes and taking handwritten notes, take the time to type them up at a later stage. Typing them not only creates a digital copy for easy access but also helps reinforce your learning by going over the material once more. Like handwriting, typing allows you to engage with the information again, increasing your retention and understanding.


In conclusion, note-taking may sometimes feel overwhelming, but with these strategies, you can significantly improve your skills and make the most out of your college classes. Remember to come prepared, experiment with different techniques, and pay attention to what your professors emphasize.

By taking effective notes, you’ll be better equipped to succeed in exams, assignments, and overall academic performance.

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