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Advice for StudentsStudying

The Art of Note-Taking: Advise for Taking Notes at University.

28 March 2024

During my first term at university I was definitely overwhelmed with the idea of taking notes at university. However, I soon learnt quickly what worked best for me and I would like to share some advice you can improve the ways you take notes. Of course, everyone is different, but I know I would have appreciated some tips and advice for when I first came to university.

Getting ahead:

Organisation and folders:

I think that it is important to organise your folders and documents before you attend your lectures and seminars. Before the semester starts, I like to spend a couple of hours creating folders for each module I will be taking. I will create a folder for each module, with weekly folders within it. I will then create a folder for further module information and one for assessments. By doing this it means that you get ahead and don’t have to worry about doing this later on in term. Notion is a really good platform to use, but using your computer files, is just as effective.

Pre-lecture notes:

I find that it is really useful to go over the lecture slides ahead of the lecture itself. I like to annotate the slides, highlighting any information that I think will be relevant. I will print out the slide and I will write down any question I may have on the content itself, in relation to information that I may not fully understand yet.

Lecture and Seminars:


During my lectures I avoid writing word for word what the lecture says. Instead I will rephrase and write relevant information that I think is important. To help make myself understand my notes even more I like to capitalise, underline and highlight any information that I think is particularly useful. I use abbreviations in my notes as well so my time is used more efficiently when typing. I think that it is important to make an effort to do this as it allows you to fully absorb and understand the information that is being said.


I think that it is important to also look at the seminar questions ahead of the seminar itself. I will make notes in one colour, and then I will make notes in another colour at the seminar itself. By using more that one colour to help me distinguish my ideas, it allows me to visually see how they have developed after further discussion.

Creativity and personalisation:

You should also be creative with your notes, you shouldn’t just pick one style or font, after all they are your notes. Don’t be afraid to add colour. I have recently started adding some pictures to my lecture notes so that I can be prompted further in my thoughts. It makes me feel more motivated and willing to engage with them

I hope you find some of these suggestions useful. By having good notes and maintaining them will make your life so much easier when you are revisiting them for essay writing and exams.