A guide for students on how to make study notes

How to make good study notes? How to make notes to study for exams? Are these questions rising in your mind? Do you want to learn the best study note making techniques? Look no further, as this study notes making guide gives you a step by step tutorial.

Whether you are revising for the exams or brushing up on topics, study notes come in very handy. Teachers and parents alike suggest that students should make notes as they make studying easier. Toppers, when quizzed on their examination preparation secrets generally refer to studying from notes. Juniors ask seniors for their notes.

The above statements highlight the importance of notes in a students' life. The problem is that many students do not know how to prepare these notes. I am of the opinion that most teachers do not care whether their students are making notes or not, or if they know the right technique of making notes. Most teachers presume that their students know how to make good notes.

If you think about it, teachers do not lay emphasis on how to make/take good notes. It remains a self-acquired skill, and not something that is taught in the classroom. Over a period of time, students develop their own strategies for making notes, which may or may not be wholly effective.

I always say that notes should be effective, constructive and powerful. Notes should be meaningful, right; and writing down relevant and functional points, is a skill that every student must master. Notes serve a double purpose – they help you recall points and significant sections of academic lessons that need to be revised and the act of making notes is a good way to etch those points into your brain's database. What you jot down as notes go into your memory and make recalling of that data that much easier.

The importance of notes

A class XI student that I spoke to the other day, made an interesting point. He said, he doesn't make notes, because he doesn't they could help him, and that he would rather read complete chapters. He went on to add that some of his classmates make notes of the entire lecture; they note down everything the teacher says. That made it clear to me why he didn't see the point of making notes.

Jotting down each and every point from a lecture, or a textbook is a recipe for disaster. Making note of every last fact and figure will not enhance knowledge as you'll concentrate more on putting down everything on paper. Notes are not like minutes of a meeting, they have an altogether different purpose to accomplish.

The motive of note-taking is rather basic; it is to make studying more efficient and faster. Therefore, notes must cover just the important aspects and the essence of the lessons. On the other hand, capturing the whole caboodle can result in a nightmare – it means that when the time comes you'll have to sift through everything to uncover the nuggets to important material. What a pain that can be!

What to note

There are three things to remember when taking notes. The first is to note down only those things that are new to you. Writing down points that you are aware of doesn't make any sense. If you know when the Battle of Haldighati was fought and between whom, writing it down is not going to enhance your knowledge or learning abilities.

The second important point to remember is to note down the relevant stuff. You will need to decipher the information, which in all probability will be of use at a later date, when you are studying for a test, maybe.

The third thing you need to remember when making notes is to concentrate on aspects that are directly proportional to what you are reading. This means you have to actually read through your textbooks and note down points that explain the text.

Kinds of information to jot down

Textbooks are piled with information, so which information should you give special emphasis to –


Make note of all the theories, as they are the most relevant part of your lessons.


Definitions are similar to theories and constitute the most important part of your lessons. Definitions can sometimes be tricky, so it is vital that you understand them properly. Bear in mind that certain words, in definitions, can sometimes be used in ways that you may not be familiar with. They are simple, yet complex, so note these definitions and memorise them.

Dates of events

Dates are another thing that makes it to your notes. They help you create a chronological order of things, and you are better able to understand the sequence of events and relate together different personalities, places and events.

Names of people

Remembering names of people from history is important, and I don't mean history, the subject, I mean history, as in the past. The famous scientist, celebrated writers and poets, great mathematicians and physicist and of course kings, emperors, rulers and invaders. Remembering the names of these great men and women from the past will make it easier to remember key ideas that they propagated. You begin to identify the ties and connection between names and theories, stories, poems, discoveries and inventions etc.

Arguments & debates

List down the pros and cons of things or analysis of main theories and concepts. Even points discussed in class – this is the kind of thing that can help you progress and understand the hows and whys of things.

Images & exercises

Firstly, whenever you come across an illustration or diagram that demonstrates a point, replicate it in your book of notes. This is one of the easiest methods of recording things in your head. Secondly, whenever you participate in an exercise, such as an experiment in the Physics lab, record the same in a few words, describing whatever you witnessed or performed. This little tactic will later help you reconstruct the whole thing, without a problem.

Other things

Make note of stuff that the teacher discusses or mentions as important. You need to pay extra attention to that. Also, note down names of reference books that are suggested and make sure you get your hands on them and read them. Be attentive during discussions and make note of things that other students say.

Your doubts

Finally, make it a point to jot down any doubts or question that arise as you are reading through the textbooks. It makes it easier to have your doubts cleared and questions answered, by your teacher.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 609 articles authored by Juana

Related Articles

How to prevent acne scars?

This article explains various measures which keep acne under control. This decreases inflammation and consequently chances of formation of acne scars too decreases. Actions like not picking at skin, proper hydration, using sunscreen lotions, proper skin care regime etc prevent formation of acne scars.

How To Control Anger?

Have you ever been angry and later on felt sad for being angry on some one or something? Do you want to control your anger ? Is anger good or not ? The following article will discuss about anger and measures through which we can control our anger.

How to remove blood stains from delicate fabrics and specific surfaces?

This article explains various tips and methods to get rid of blood stains from delicate fabrics like silk, satin, woolen, linen etc and from specific surfaces like concrete, hardwood floors, mattress, quilt, leather, carpets etc. These methods used can make them free from blood stains.

Top 9 tips and exercises to sharpen the mind and boost brainpower

The brain needs constant stimulation to remain alert and active. Practice good habits that can sharpen your memory and help you stay alert and on top of your game at all times. Simple lifestyle changes that involve the number of you sleep or what you eat or how you relax can play a great role in how your brain functions. Find out what you need to do right, to get the best out of your grey cells.

How to become a pathologist with top hospitals in India

Are you looking for a career in medicine as a clinical pathologist? Need to know how to start a pathology lab? This article provides complete information on the different specializations in pathology and a career guide on starting a career as a pathologist. You will also get a general idea on the approximate costs of setting up your own path lab.

More articles: How to


Author: Reena Upadhya13 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 10

A very well written article that will help in guiding students in preparation of study notes.

Study notes should be organized and offer clear information. Only then they can come in handy and help students in their studies. It is often seen that class notes do not meet the requirements. The reason is students do not keep them very well organized and it results in a lack of clarity. Study notes should be well structured. It has got nothing to do with neat handwriting. If notes are not taken properly, even good handwriting will not be of any use.

Students should learn to take notes while they are learning in the classroom and even while they are studying on their own. If they can understand and revise the noted concepts they will be blessed by better grasping of any given topic. They will be able to learn as well as revise their subjects in a short amount of time. It will enable meaningful studying and also help in time management. Study notes which are effective decrease the stress in students that are prominently seen during exams.

Taking study notes has lots of advantages. It improves the recall ability of a student. It helps in better understanding of subjects which in turn helps in the learning process. It makes sure that the student actively and enthusiastically listens to teachers. They help to interconnect the topics and help students to analyze what they have learned.

Study notes are important at every level. The technique of taking them might differ at every level. Various techniques are available and all of them have the same objective and that is to help students make best out of the recorded material. A student should not record everything the teacher teaches. Only important points must be noted which will help him/her to recall and revise the subject easily and quickly.

Don't make the study notes look messy. Study notes should be created chapter wise. If required try to introduce headings and subheadings for clarity. Divide the material into paragraphs. Use numbering system or bullet points. All the important points should be underlined. Underlining with colored pens is also a nice option. Tables, graphs, diagrams, maps are all good options that can be introduced. At the end do not forget to write down the summary.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha15 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

The purpose of making notes is to recapitulate the events or related facts in such a way so as to provide the sufficient input at the time of last minute - revision. The students would do their best if all the points relating to the subject is touched upon while incorporating the facts.

While making notes, especially in the Science subjects, we would come across a lot of formulas to be utilised in course of solving problems. Incorporation of correct - formulas with their usual meanings and the significance of unit - system should be specified clearly so as to wipe out the confusion in the last minute - revision.

Notes are not the texts from any textbooks but is an important tool to be used as the last minute reference for the assimilation of the whole concept. The neat diagrams may substantiate the clarity of the subjects. A care has to be taken to include all the essential points since as to interpret the same in case the same is required in the examination.

A crispy note with all the essential details will help the pupil to excel well in the Examination and is an invaluable item in the last hour study. The author has provided all the essential features making the notes helpful for better clarity of the subject.

Author: Swati Sarnobat15 Mar 2019 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

A person can note down the topics or questions that are difficult for him/her to learn in a systematic way. They can prepare graphic presentations or tables of the questions that are not been learnt easily. Some answers are lengthy and hence a student should prepare steps to study every point. They should convert it into a bullet point format. A student or parents can use their own creative ideas to make a concept easier.

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: