Note Taking Tips For More Effective Studying


Noelle Rose Hardin

An example of “trial” notes

Noelle Rose Hardin, Writer

As we know, the AP tests are coming up and most students need all the studying they can get, whether that be through hiring tutors, paying off test moderators (ouch, too soon?) or just old fashioned note taking. High school junior, Erin Grace Kekuewa thinks that “it’s important to take nice looking notes so that they’re easier to read and review later.” She even retakes her notes “sometimes (once really quick and sloppy during class, and then again later at home to take my time and make them look neat and color-coded) and it helps [her] study and retain information a lot more than if I simply listened to a lecture.”

Now note-taking has become a sort of art to some people, and those people use tools ranging from brush pens, fine liners, stamps and highlighters in every shade imaginable. But for the sake of this article, we’ll be using a few simple materials.

  • Graph paper
  • Four different color highlighters (for these examples I’ll be using pink, orange, blue and yellow)
  • A ruler
  • A pen (I prefer gel pens)
Materials Needed

The first step to taking “pretty” notes is to already have taken the notes before on a separate sheet of paper so you already know the information. It’s proven that writing things helps your brain remember them better, so reading and writing notes over again is extremely beneficial to retaining information. I know for me personally, rewriting notes is so helpful when I need to study, and it keeps me more organized. When I have notes that look nice, they make me want to look at them more which makes me study harder, plus being organized is overall fantastic.

And now its time to make your margins with a highlighter (I use orange for my notes, but feel free to use whatever color you desire), I prefer to start five boxes down and eight over from the very edge of the paper.

On to the next step, which is the title for your paper. Now there are many different ways to title papers, it all just depends on your personal style. I prefer writing in cursive and in blue highlighter then going over the under part of the letters with a black gel pen. The fun thing about notes is finding your own personal style that you can portray through notes.

An important note to make when writing and highlighting things is to highlight the page first then write over it. It prevents smudging and overall makes the notes look cleaner.

Now is when we can start writing actual notes! On that margin you made to the left is where you want to start writing section titles. I really like highlighting first, then writing over it with whatever title that section was.

After this start taking notes normally! Writing neater and slower will help you retain more information and I highly suggest doing this!

It’s important to highlight keywords or terms and include their definitions.

Mara Agner
Mara Agner’s tips to taking better notes

If you guys have pretty notes or a specific way you study Tweet me at @noeyyrose or comment below!