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How to Organize Notes for Studying

Updated on November 24, 2012

Importance Of Having An Organized Study Notebook

Organizing a study notebook is your first step to organizing your notes for studying. In order for the information you gain in each day`s lecture to permanently stick in your mind, you must work the information from your short term memory into your long term memory. This process takes work. A three ring binder is a great notebook for adding daily notes and handouts. Having said that, papers flipped through often, tend to get worn and rip eventually, falling out of your binder and creating a mess. Spiral bound notebooks are often found to be easier alternatives to binders for daily note taking. They are

  • lighter,
  • take up less space
  • and individual papers tend to last longer in this format than in traditional three ring binder format.

There are a number of things that can be done to turn your notebook into an effective and organized set of notes for studying.

How To Organize Your Notes For Studying

  1. Make sure every note you take in class is dated so if a page becomes dislodged you can put into the correct sequence.
  2. Make sure in your daily notes you differentiate between class notes, reading notes, discussion notes and lab notes. This sequence especially pertains to college and university classes.
  3. Use colored flags to mark especially important points and pages.
  4. Create sub-headings in your notes which allows for grouping of related themes and items when later reorganizing your notes for studying.
  5. Keep the following recorded for each set of daily notes:
  • the unit topic,
  • the main idea for that day,
  • main ideas to be learned,
  • key vocabulary words,
  • study questions and
  • a summary of the main idea in your own words.


How To Add To Your Daily Note Taking To Make Memorization of Material Easier

  1. Rewrite or retype notes in your own words when you are home. The process of rewriting will shift ideas from your short-term memory into your long-term memory.
  2. Use mind maps for reorganizing your daily notes. Concepts learned in class are more easily memorized or recalled when main concepts are placed in a mind map.
  3. Review notes every day or every other day. Frequent review will push concepts into long-term memory more effectively then cramming the night before.
  4. Keep quizzes and tests if possible for review. Quizzes and tests will let you know what concepts are important to be tested on a mid-term or final exam. If you cannot keep your testing material, scan or photocopy the material before they are handed back to the teacher.

Organizing Your Study Notes

Organizing your study notes gives you an edge over your class competition. Many students take daily notes and file them away until the day before a test and cram the night before. Most individuals will not get maximum results from this haphazard method of studying. For most people, it takes real work to push the information from daily lectures into your long-term memory. Rewriting, map mapping, and verbal review of the concepts with a friend or parent are some of the techniques successful students use in their daily routine. Even the use of one or two of these techniques paired with careful note taking skills can have a dramatic effect on your overall academic progress. Begin with a well organized daily notebook and then try one or two of the techniques outlined in this hub. Academic success comes with effort. All the best things in life require the same!


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    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      thanks Crystal. It gets more important as your education furthers to more deeply embed the information presented! Thanks for the share, much appreciated.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      4 years ago from Georgia

      Great tips. I did well in school but I mostly memorized and I've learned later in life that I did not build effective study and learning habits. Voted up and sharing this one.

    • profile image

      Dajaun Sinclair 

      4 years ago

      are you ready for the test in geoffrion's today?

    • profile image

      David williams 

      4 years ago

      why thank you for this wonderful information

    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Canadian Thanksgiving was actually the middle of October and I did have a great break then. I have presently acquired a job teaching university preparation biology to a great bunch of grade 12 students. I`m spending my weekend prepping for the next unit which is molecular genetics. Perhaps my next hub will be in that subject area. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend my friend!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Invaluable information for any student. Well done Teresa! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving break.


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