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Find a note-taking system that works for you

  • Why this works: When it comes to taking notes, you have many styles and formats to choose from. A solid note-taking approach is one that will make it easier for you to retain important information and connect course concepts. 
  • How to do this: For guidance on how to take notes and specific methods to try, read our note-taking guide. Remember to consider what works best for you. For example, do you prefer the increased engagement and retention that comes from taking notes by hand, or is it more important that you have the ability to search for specific terms when reviewing your notes? How you take notes might also vary from one class to another.  

Try to be consistent in how you take notes for a single class

  • Why this works: Note-taking styles can vary from course to course, but varying your style too much for a single course requires you to reorient yourself each time you review your notes, which can slow you down. It can also make it harder to draw connections between different readings or lectures. 
  • How to do this: Once you find a method that works for you, try to stick with it. If you decide to use the Cornell method, for instance, continue to use it throughout the quarter. Once the quarter ends, you can evaluate your note-taking system to determine if there’s anything you want to change for next time. 

Store your notes in a place where you are likely to look often

  • Why this works: Research shows that reviewing your notes within 24 hours of taking them helps you retain 40% more information than if you wait a week or more. 
  • How to do this: Whether you take notes by hand or on a digital device, make sure to put them in a place where you can easily find them, and where you tend to look often. This will likely require you to create labels or folders for your notes. For digital notes, see our suggestions for organizing digital files