Whether you’re in high school, college, or “the real world,” there’s always going to be a time when you need to take notes. And when that time comes, it’s important to take good notes. But what exactly are “good notes?” Though the phrase can mean something different to everyone, having good notes means that when you refer back to them you can easily find the answer you’re looking for. But unfortunately, taking good notes is easier said than done. But that’s why we’re here to help!

Don’t write down every word.

When your professor or teacher is talking a mile a minute, it can be tempting to write down every single word they say. But writing down too much is often just as detrimental as not writing down enough. Instead, write down the key details your professor discusses. After class, you can always look in your textbook for more information or ask your professor about anything you’re confused about or would like him/ her to expand on.

Abbreviate when you can.

Remember, your notes are for you. Even if it’s not grammatically correct or no one else would understand what it means, the goal is to get the most important information down on paper. You can always go back and expand on your notes when you have more time (hint: that’s tip #3!).

Rewrite your notes at home.

Especially if you’re someone who likes to type your notes in the moment, rewriting them by hand after class can be incredibly beneficial. Rewriting your notes a day or two after you initially took them helps reinforce what you wrote and gives you the opportunity to jot down any questions you may not have thought of in the moment.

Color code everything.

Multicolored pens will be the best thing that ever happened to your notes. Across all subjects, have different colors represent different things, like the main topic, supporting details, things your professor explicitly says are important to remember, and questions you have throughout the lecture.  

Sharing is caring.

The best thing you can do when it comes to note taking is to exchange your notes with someone else in the class. Odds are, they picked up on something you didn’t and vice-versa. But keep in mind: If you’re someone who really took our advice on abbreviating everything to heart, you may want to rewrite your notes before passing them along to a friend.

Feeling lost or unsure of what the next phase of your life should be? Whether it’s your personal or professional life, Debra Solomon of Spectrum Strategies helps people of all ages find their path on the way to success while having a learning or emotional disability.