The Ultimate Tips Sheet on How to Take Notes in College

College life comes with challenges and experiences, and students get overwhelmed at times, especially during lectures. For instance, taking notes during open-ended lectures troubles many students. Although many students assume they have the best note taking hacks from high school, it is actually different from college life. In college, students must maintain maximum concentration and put in discipline to ensure they take good notes. So, should you be struggling to figure out how to take notes in college, you aren’t alone. However, this is your blog. Keep reading to discover the fastest way to take notes in college.

Why do we take notes

While determining how to take notes faster is crucial, the main question is, what is the significance of taking notes? Does taking notes have any positive impact on a student’s life and career as a whole? Well, below are some of the reasons why every college student should learn how to take notes fast.

  • Keeps the student alert

A student who takes notes in class will never fall for any distractions or even feel sleepy during the lecture. When taking notes, you will always be steady to get the correct information from the lecture. As a result, your whole body and mind stay alert and focused.

  • Emphasizes and organizes information

Taking notes helps students highlight the main ideas about the concept as they learn the structure of presenting in a class. Above all, taking good notes helps the student highlight supporting points to highlight during the class presentation. Apart from helping students get organized in class, they also learn the art of organizing other things in life.

  • Creates a simplified record for study

After classroom studying, students will need to revise on their own. It can be a hard task to study without something to refer to. Taking such organized notes gives the student get something to refer to when studying after class.

  • Engaging your mind

Note-taking means listening to pick relevant information to write as part of the notes. This means your keep your mind active throughout the lecture session.

Different note taking formats

Depending on the student’s preference or the type of subject, there are different forms of note taking students can apply. These formats include:

1. Cornell format

In this format, there are sections for the summary, questions, notes, topic, essential questions, and the date.

For every new point or idea from the lecture, a student skips a few lines, then highlights the next point. With the sections highlighted above.

2. An outline format

This is a format where the student includes main points while leaving room for examples and explanations that can be done later.

3. Flowchart/concept map

In this format, the student uses a visual representation while highlighting the point with the steps to follow.

4. Charting Method

The charting method involves organizing lecture notes by dividing key topics into columns and including facts underneath.

5. Sentence Method

This is the common and simple form of taking notes in college. The student only listens to the lecture while taking useful content in the form of taking notes.

How to take effective notes in college: pro tips

So, you are in college, and you need to make a maximum of your time during lectures. How do you ensure you take notes effectively without forgetting useful elements? Below are some of the proven tips.

Cite Sources

While many students assume citing sources is only applicable in research and essay papers, that isn’t always the case. While taking notes, it is significant to include the sources the lecturer mentions. You might never know when you will need to revise these sources when doing your studies.

Focus on Main Points

During lectures in college, it is hard to capture everything, and when you try writing everything, you might lose useful points. So, ensure you keep your focus mainly on key points since you can review them later as you dive into more research.

Use Abbreviations

While taking notes in college, you need to save time while writing useful points. The best way you can achieve this is by using abbreviations of the common words and focusing on writing other great points.


Have you always been struggling to take good notes while in college? Well, you aren’t alone. You can improve your note-taking strategies in college by referring to this write-up.