Guide to Efficient Note Taking


Nellia Romanova, Reporter

Preparing for tests is a tedious process, which takes dedication and focus. We have often been told the three main tips for test preparation are as follows: pay attention in class, do your homework, and manage your time well. However, the true foundation for test preparation is note taking. These methods of note-taking will surely help you in becoming more focused and effective in studying!


Method 1: The Cornell Method

The Cornell Method was created by Walter Pauk, a Cornell professor. In utilizing this method, notes become more organized, clear, and useful. While listening to a teacher speak, one takes concise notes at the top of the page. This ensures that students pay attention in class and absorb the information presented. Then, on the side, the writer would write down questions perhaps pertaining to meaning, relationships/connections, definitions, etc. This aids in further analyzing and thoroughly comprehending the subject, since thinking deeply and asking questions can help clarify and perhaps bring about new thoughts. Lastly, a summarization of the class notes is taken at the bottom of the page. This summary includes the most important information and should allow one to have a clear understanding of the daily topic. This is especially useful when studying since a clear summary of the information is much easier to read than trivial details. 


Method 2: The Charting Method

The Charting Method is exactly what it sounds like: A chart. The student would divide a page or paper into columns, label them, and write the appropriate information within each column. However, this method requires knowing the categories covered during the lesson. Perhaps, it may be more efficient to take general notes and then later organize the information. Writing down information in organized categories provides a clear visual representation for students to study from. In a lesson, much information is thrown at students. Utilizing this method will sort the clumped information and clarify it so that the information is more easily understood. 

Method 3: Boxing Method 

The Boxing Method is suitable for connecting ideas. In writing in boxes, one is forced to think about the overall message of the topic, for they have limited space. Brevity is needed for this specific style of note-taking. This method does not work best for lectures that only cover one topic. Having more than one topic is necessary since numerous boxes contain different pieces of information. To divide this information, limit yourself to three or four boxes at first. However, this particular method of note-taking can divert attention to the presentation of the notes rather than the actual material. Be careful and make sure to include a title.


Freshman Sophia Musat shared her opinion on styles of note taking, saying “During class, I often use headers and really short and easy bullets. I highlight important definitions, too. I created my own style of note taking, since it takes longer to learn how to take notes a certain way. However, using an organized format to write my notes has helped me study and I recommend doing it!”


Hopefully, these methods will bring your note-taking skills up a notch.