College Life Hack: Taking Notes

Image By: Luis Llerena (
Image by Luis Llerena (

One of the things that threw me off when school started this fall, were the lectures. Now, I am use to fast paced lectures and lessons because of AP courses that I took throughout high school, but that is nothing in comparison to the real deal. Here are some life hacks for taking notes in college:

  •  Print Outs
    If your teacher posts his/ her lecture presentations online (such as PowerPoint slides, or PDF files), I highly recommend you to print them out and to write additional notes on those print outs. Sometimes, professors go incredibly fast, especially in a demanding major, and therefore, if you are hand-writing your notes, you’ll end up getting behind and lost. And if your professors are anything like mine, they will not only grade you for understanding concepts, but they will also grade you on application of concepts, and may include information that they presented verbally, or ad-libbed, to the class, which are not in any of your notes.

    • Forgot To Print Out Notes?
      Don’t panic! Create an outline by sectioning information off by their slide number, or by the title of each slide; and by doing so, you can take your additional notes and add them onto your print outs later, once you have them printed out.
  • Recording Lectures
    If you are like me, sometimes, when I am focused on my notes, I miss some additional information that my professor has stated outside of the presentation that was either helpful to understanding difficult concepts, or was additional information that may be included on a test. I have yet to be able to record any of my lectures because I forget to, however, starting next semester, I will have to begin recording my lectures for future references for when I am studying outside of the class.
  • Color Code
    In my past blog posts, I have mentioned that I like color coding my notes, and am very type A when it comes to school. Color coding helps me because if specific details are in a certain color, when I refer back to my notes, my eyes will be drawn to those specific colors, and help me to really focus on my notes versus my natural habit to start skimming through my notes. You can color code using: pens, high lighters, sticky note strips, etc.
  • Rewriting Information
    It is said that active learning is more effective than active learning. This means that if you are writing down notes, side-notes to help with understanding concepts, etc. it is a lot easier for you to retail that information versus sitting there and listening, or “absorbing”, the information. With that being said, what helps me remember important notes, especially definitions, is by rewriting them, and paraphrasing them in a way that makes sense to me.

I learn the best by combining all three types of learning: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Therefore, from my experience, all of the tips I mentioned above are very helpful. I hope this helped you in one way or another, and remember, if one way isn’t method isn’t working, try another method. Keep trying until you find a system that works for you, and helps you pass with flying colors.

Until Next Time xoxo 


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