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With completing high school, and now on my second run of university, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks on how to get good grades and be successful.
And that all starts with taking some kick ass notes.
Now, I know notes aren’t for everyone, but handwritten notes are my saving grace when it comes to school. It’s really helped me grasp concepts better and remember certain things when it comes to writing exams. When I sit my ass down at my desk and pump those notes out, I feel like I’m actually learning what I need to learn about.
So here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way to write some kick-ass notes that are sure to get you straight A’s.
Tips On Writing Kick Ass Notes
Purchasing that first pack of colored pens was the best thing I ever did for note taking. Having different colors for writing your notes makes a world of a difference. I like to color code mine so that each color means a certain thing, so when I’m reading over them again it’s easy to find things.
For example, I use red for definitions and pink for teacher notes. This way all of the key terms stand out in red, and important aspects the teacher adds to the lesson stand out in pink. For normal notes I choose green, black or blue.
Not only does the color coding help, it makes writing your notes so much more fun! I genuinely enjoy writing notes (until my hand cramps) and I owe that to the pretty colors that appear on my page.
My favourite pens of all time are these ones from PaperMate. They’re more like markers so they feel nicer to write with and show up a little better. I’ve recently been using these pens from Staedtler, and they’re pretty great too.
Along with the color thing, I like to chose notebooks for each class according to a color. That way I can have one color associated with each class, and when I’m writing in my planner what schoolwork needs to be done, I can use a pen of the same color.
For example, my Marketing class has a blue notebook, so I write down the homework in my planner in blue pen.
I’ve always been a big fan of these Five Star notebooks.
It really helps to differentiate between the classes and saves me the time of having to write down each class name before it’s coinciding homework.
I’ve also always been a matchy-matchy freak ever since my mom taught me how to match when I was a kid. Yep, I was the kid who wore the pink pants with the pink shirt and pink socks and pink hat….
I know rewriting notes is so tedious, but I promise it helps when it comes down to finals. I definitely don’t rewrite the notes from every class (cause ain’t nobody got time for that) but the classes I feel I need a little more study time and help with I do.
For fall term this year, I was so nervous to write the final for one of my classes. I felt like my teacher didn’t teach us anything. So I had to come up with a way to basically teach myself the entire course the week before my final. I took my textbook and rewrote the notes for each chapter.
After doing that, I took the teacher notes for the final and summarized the key points from each chapter onto cue cards. To have the main concepts right there in front of me separated by chapter was so helpful.
I ended up with a 97% on the final, so trust me, it works. Well I mean, it could have worked 3% better LOL.
Now some people may be looking at that word and saying what the friggin heck. Yeah I had to google it cause I forgot what it was called LOL. But basically a mnemonic device is a memory technique, such as when you take the first letters of the concepts and put them into some sort of acronym.
A super basic example that most people know is “My Very Energetic Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” (or other variations.) Y’know, to remember the order of the planets (except RIP to Pluto now). The first “M” being for Mercury, the “V” For Venus, etc.
This technique is so so helpful when you have to remember lists, or anything with multiple components. I used this a bunch last term and it absolutely saved me for the final when I had to recall a billion different principles. (Just don’t ask me about them now cause you bet I’ve erased that whole course outta my mind.)
Those classes that are basically just memorization are definitely anxiety inducing, but this technique helps to lighten the load tremendously.
It’s definitely taken me a long time to get some rhythm into note taking. I finally feel like I’ve found a system that works for me. Taking notes is definitely a personal preference thing, so feel out what works best for you and your learning style.
Notes can be so amazingly helpful when it comes to midterms and finals, and I highly recommend finding a writing style that benefits you. Having an organized space can also be so helpful to getting your work done and pumping out those notes.
When you take control of your learning style and learn to work with it, you’re putting yourself on the right track to success. And that’s what we all want, right?