Whether heading off to obtain your degree at a campus-based institution or enjoying your degree work from the comforts of your own home by way of an online program, knowing proper note taking skills and techniques can be beneficial to your academic success. From understanding what types of materials can make your note taking most effective to how to keep your notes organized and useful, there are multiple factors that can affect the efficiency of your note taking.

Here are a few tips and ideas that may help you make the most of your college note taking whether you’re drawing information from a professor, the Internet or a textbook.

You don’t have to get overzealous in your materials supply though. A few well-placed dollars at an office supply or even a dollar store could have you looking at a variety of items to keep you supplied with note taking materials.

Here are a few note taking supplies to consider:

  • Three-ring binders (one for each class can help you stay better organized)
  • Highlighters (consider a multi-color pack for use in multiple subjects or to break apart subject matter on the same page)
  • Red ink pens
  • A variety of colored ink pens (once again to denote different subject matter)
  • Spiral notebooks or legal pads
  • Sticky notes

Listen to Your Professor
While it might seem to you as if your professor is just droning on in order to hear himself talk, or is sending out all those emails just to fill up your inbox, there is typically a point to what he is saying. Often a professor — whether he makes it obvious in his statements or not — is pointing out crucial information that might be relevant later in the course either through assignments, projects or tests. Making notes regarding the professor’s comments and what he is highlighting in class or by way of the Internet or other communications may significantly improve your success in your coursework.

Stay Organized
Staying organized can make a huge difference in how your note taking affects your ability to utilize this aspect of your education to your advantage. There are various ways that staying organized when it comes to your note taking can help you, and these ways can depend upon your courses, the type of degree program you are undertaking, and how you learn best.

Keeping all of your school notes in one central location such as a single notebook or binder might seem like a good idea in theory. But by lumping all your class notes into one binder or folder, you risk jumbling your thoughts in a disorganized mess, which can make your note taking less effective and more time consuming to make sense of later when the ideas are not so fresh in your mind. And if you lose that one binder, you risk losing your entire note base, leaving you to make up your notes for multiple classes rather than just one.

Therefore, you might consider keeping a notebook or binder of notes for each class. You might want to use color-coded binders to make class notes easier to differentiate from one another. But again, this may depend upon how organized you are and your personal style of learning. You may then want to divide a particular class’s notes by subject, week, or chapter depending upon how the course is structured.

Make it Routine
Coming up with a set way of note taking early in your college career can make for more effective study habits in the long run. Utilizing set abbreviations, special notations, and other time savers can be a big help when taking notes, but you must ensure that you will remember such short cuts days, weeks, sometimes even months after taking them in order to make the best use of your notes. If you can’t read or don’t understand your own writing, your notes won’t be of much use to you no matter how many of them you take.

Disclaimer:This article is for informational purposes only. The author is not an educational professional or academic advisor. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.