Note taking is an essential skill for college students. I am a meticulous note taker. I like to keep notew neat and organized. Want to re-organize your note-taking process? Check out my tips below!
1. Use Headings + Bullet Points to Organize
I use a combination of headings and bullet points to categorize my notes. Writing ‘Major Topics’ in bold letters and ‘Minor Topics’ in italics differentiates each section of notes. Bullet points are helpful to summarize important information.
2. Highlight to Emphasize
I use a lot of highlighter throughout a semester. Highlighting my notes allows me to track important information. It is also a useful technique to find specific topics within my notes.
3. Dedicate a New Page to Each Day
I start notes for each new day on a new page. This process creates an organized sequence for notes. It is good practice to date each set of notes. Further organize each set by numbering all pages.
4. Determine Your Note-Taking Style
Various note-taking styles exist. For this post, I will highlight two note-taking styles:
- Cornell Method
- This style makes reviewing easier and more effective.
- Start by dividing your page into two columns. Label one column “Keywords” and the other column “Notes”. Beneath these sections, mark off a third section and label it “Summary”.
- During the lecture, write all notes in the “Notes” column. Capture main points and meaningful topics here.
- After the lecture write keywords in the “Keywords” column. Try reducing each line of notes into a single keyword.
- Use only the “Keywords” column to test your knowledge during review sessions.
- Write a brief summary after your review session.
2. Mind Mapping
- This is a visual form of note-taking. Mind is a process of drawing your notes. This style helps you find connections you may miss with traditional note-taking.
- Steps: (1) Write the main lecture topic in the centre of your page. (2) Record new points around the central topic. (3) Draw lines to connect different ideas.
Do you use any specific note-taking methods?
Finding the right planner for you can take time. Picture this: After finding the perfect planner at your local stationary store, you stare at the blank pages, unsure of exactly where to start. Today I’ll share tips to help you use those pages!
1) Use a single planner, if possible
It can be cumbersome to manage both a personal and work planner. Find a planner you can use to record business and personal tasks. This will streamline your tasks, due dates, and appointments. A bonus tip: It is a good idea to consistently check your planner to review the day ahead.
2) Create a list within your planner
I make lists often. I list each task to be accomplished by the end of the day, and check them off as I complete them. I enjoy the motion of marking a check-mark next to my list during the day. It provides both a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
3) Slow down in order to speed up
Set aside time each week to plan ahead. Inputing tasks and reminders for the week ahead offers you time to organize thoughts, de-stress, and provides a clear view of what you plan to accomplish. The act of physically writing out your to-dos is an effective tool for cognitive recognition.
4) Use a color-coding system
My favourite method of colour-coding is using different pens or post-it notes. Use a different colour for each specific task you need to remember. For example, reserve a pink pen for exam dates, a blue pen for reminders, a red pen for appointments, etc.
Do you use a planner? If you do, is it an effective tool to keep you organized?
With final papers, exams, and other deadlines fast approaching becoming a morning person may not seem appealing. A productive early morning will set you up for the day ahead. Becoming a morning person is easier than you think! I’ve used these hacks myself, but you can mix and match to suit your routine best.
HACK #1: Eat in the morning
Eating breakfast in the morning provides your body with fuel and energy. If it is 5 minutes or 10, set aside time to sit down for breakfast. On mornings when I do not have time for a full meal, even a piece of fruit and toast do the trick. If your morning is busy a piece of fruit or toast is quick.
HACK #2: Stick to your alarm clock
Commit to skipping the snooze button in the morning. Hitting the snooze button for an extra few moments may not benefit you. Instead, hop out of bed and give yourself and your body time to wake up.
HACK #3: Save time in the morning by preparing the night before
I use this one often. Each night I prep my lunch, clothes, and assignments for the next day. This brief period of preparation cuts down on any indecisiveness. Preparing the night before provides both financial and time-saving efficiency.
What tips do you use for an easier morning? Let me know in the comments!
University is stressful. Between paper due dates, social activities, and coursework it is not always possible to avoid sickness. I often face one major cold/flu each semester. Today I share some of the methods I use to avoid sickness, and improve my health.
Start a routine early
Once classes begin, it’s difficult to focus on what to cook for each meal, or which exercises classes to attend. Try creating a healthy-eating regime and exercise routine early in the semester. After you engage in these activities for a few weeks, it will become a routine.
Ditch those all-nighters
I find it difficult to stay awake past my normal bedtime. I typically complete my coursework in the morning or early afternoon. A lack of sleep is not healthy for physical, mental or emotional health. Getting adequate sleep will help you function better, as opposed to staying awake all night cramming or completing work. This also applies to a night of partying.
Self care is important
Take time to do activities you enjoy. Regular breaks in between coursework is healthy for both your body and mind. Practice self-care during these breaks to relax and recuperate after long periods of studying. Your brain can become fatigued, and it’s important to listen to these signals.
If you are, or have attended, university: What pieces of advice do you rely on to stay healthy?
Use a single calendar. Colour-coding a single calendar with due dates, extra-cirricular activities and personal dates (i.e. birthdays, social events) ensures all important dates are visible. Writing all due dates for the semester on the first day of lectures is a trick I use to sketch out the semester for myself.
Separate and organize course materials. Whether you track your course work electronically or on paper, keeping related materials together keep them organized.
Get a planner. Planners offer monthly, weekly and/or daily views. Write out important due dates and reminders to keep yourself on-track with the semester.
Label all sets of notes. When the time comes to study for an exam, having notes labelled and dated allows you to locate specific topics.
Tidy up your study space. Place your calendar in clear view to reference due dates for the month. Dedicating specific areas of your desk for study materials allows for access when needed.
Time management is key. This is important whether you take courses online or on campus. Set aside a specific time of day to review daily lecture notes and to plan ahead for the upcoming week. Managing your time allows you to divide your tasks into sections.
Colour code your courses. Using a separate colour scheme for each course keeps material organized and visible.
Maintain self-care. Staying organized is not simple if you are mentally drained. Take time to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. Motivating yourself to stay organized is easier if you have high energy levels.
Start early. Many of us procrastinate. Better work quality results if you begin readings and assignments early. Separating work into manageable chunks may decrease stress levels, especially as due dates approach.
Create a filing system. If you are taking courses with many readings, having file folders for all relevant course readings is helpful when the time comes to study for an exam or write a paper.