taking notes

Basic Studying Tips Reinvented


Everyone knows the basic studying tips: note cards, reading and notes. These are cookie-cutter study tips everyone knows, but they don’t always work for everyone. These tips below are variations on the basic tips and allow you to make studying fit your personality! If you make your studying habits your own, this allows you to learn and understand the material, instead of just memorizing it.

Note Cards



The basic version is to write a word on one side and the textbook definition on the other. Instead, try reading as much as you can stand about the topic: read the chapter, an article, etc. Once you feel like you’ve got a grasp on the topic, that’s when you write your note cards out. Write the note cards in your own words and in whatever style fits you better: lists, prose, shorthand, anything.

Why it Works: If you understand a topic before you write about it, or take notes on it, the notes then become a review-not a lesson.



Reading the textbook is a necessity to taking most classes. Studies have shown that just reading the textbook and rereading it until you know it is one of the least effective ways to learn material. So, this tip is for anyone who doesn’t like notes or note cards, and just reads the material. Read something other than the standard textbook. Read the material in the book for the class and then find another source-be that another book, an article, a documentary, or YouTube video about the topic- and study that one too. Sometimes reading the same book written in the same voice causes people to zone out while studying. Don’t zone!

Why it Works: Supplementing your reading with other sources will give you a better idea of the material and be more familiar with it.



Notes can be basic: you write down things you think are important as you read. This works for some people, but for others its just going through a motion. Instead try a similar tactic to the note card strategy: read in its entirety and then take notes. Write the notes in your own words, and write them as if you’re explaining it to someone else.

Why it Works: When you’re going back through and reviewing the notes, you’ll be able to easily understand them and follow the material without having to crack the book open again.

These are variations on studying tips I’ve found to work for me.Understanding the material is the best way to remember it. Good luck hitting the books!

Comment below if they helped or if you’ve found variations of your own. 

5 Tips to Get You To and Through College Finals


College finals are in your near future and you need some help getting to and through them! Read on for some tips to help you do just that!
college finals

1. Find a study group 

Finding a study group is especially important if you have not been paying attention in class.  I suggest you find a group of people who will help you review and understand an entire semester’s worth of information.

2. Start a Google Doc

Your class will LOVE you if you give out a Google Doc or other shared drive study guide to help your whole class a good grade on the final. Brownie points (and extra studying) if you fill out the whole study guide yourself and then share it.

3. Take a movie break

Make plans during finals week, on a lighter day (or after a heavy day) of finals to watch a movie with a friend. A movie break is a good way to recharge and make sure you are getting social interaction during finals week!

4. Get missed notes

Before finals week, you should go through your notes and see if there are any lectures that you have missed and find a classmate who did show up.  TIP: Try incentivizing them by offering to buy them a coffee if they will meet up and let you copy the missed notes.

5. Ask about the format

Knowing what the final will look like, especially if you haven’t had an exam in the class, will help shape how you study for each exam. This information can also provide vital information about what to and not to study for the exam.

Good luck with your studies!

Take Notes on Taking Notes


Photo Credit: www.tutoringvermont.org


We’ve all heard Dorothy’s famous quote from The Wizard of Oz “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” used in various contexts. Well, Dorothy, unfortunately, you’re not in high school anymore. That means no more notes being passed out in thick packets or being neatly organized to deal with certain topics on certain days. College takes taking notes to a whole new level, and a difficult one at that. Therefore, here is a list of useful tips for the next time you are getting flustered with note-taking:


1.) Don’t try and write down every word your professor says! Focus on key points of information. It will save you time when studying and will save your hand from cramping.

2.) Avoid copying PowerPoint/Prezi slides word for word. Figure out the main point and write that, and only that. And if you are not sure what Prezi is, you need to find out!

3.) Use the marginal method. You know that space at the end of college-ruled notebook paper where it has a faint line? Fold that into your page. Now, only take notes in the non-folded section. Any of your questions, potential test questions or special highlighted notes you take away from the lecture should go in the folded tab, keeping your notes clean and organized.

4.) If a word or phrase is repeated, write it down! There is a reason your professor is repeating it, trust me. It will most likely show up on your test later or help you understand test materials.

5.) Ask if you’re allowed to use your laptop to take notes. People tend to type faster than they can write things down. Just make sure you turn off the Internet to avoid being tempted by social media. Unless of course you’re using one of our recommended apps to stay organized!

These tips are sure-fire ways to taking great notes in college. Got any others? Tell them to us in the comments section below!