As a student, your notes can be one of the most valuable tools you have to master the material you’ve learned. But if you don’t organize them properly, they can turn into a complete mess — and make it that much harder to find what you’re looking for. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to keep your college notes organized so that you can find what you need when you need it without having to waste time leafing through pages and pages of scribbles.
Staring at a wall of disorganized notes is probably the last thing you want to do after spending hours in lecture halls, studying for exams, and cramming for midterms. But doing nothing will likely cause you more of a problem than organizing your notes properly. Moreover, the better your organization, the more quickly you’ll be able to access whatever information you need.
Having a clear and logical system in place can help you save time and effort during the semester, and it will also make your studying easier. Rushing out the door for class might not always be an option, but keeping your notes in order will give you an advantage when it comes to studying.
If you want to start organizing your notes, you’ll need a system that works for you. You can apply the same ideas that work for other kinds of files — like outlines, manuscripts, and databases — to note-taking. The most straightforward systems are those that do just one thing but don’t get too complicated. You’ll still be able to use your notes and information, even if they’re challenging to use.
Obviously, your system will need to work for you. But here are some tips that can help you organize your notes:
Focus on the significant organization systems and choose one that best fits your studies
You mustn’t confuse your notes with a general organizational system. While it’s true that many note-taking systems can be applied to all kinds of files, they’re not the same thing. A general organizational system — such as a spreadsheet — is intended to organize information in one place. You’ll be able to use that information anywhere.
But when it comes to notes, you have a different idea. Notes provide you with on-the-spot information that you can use while you’re studying. So when working with notes, you’re looking for something that will help you find the information you need during your studying sessions.
You can apply the general organizational systems to your notes. For example, you could use a spreadsheet to organize your notes, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t still need other organizing systems.
Use a method that allows you to read your notes on your smartphone, computer, and tablet
You must be able to make use of your notes on all of your devices. That means that you should be able to read them anywhere and on multiple devices.
If your notes are only on an old-school notebook, for example, they’re probably not going to work as well when you’re studying on your tablet. So you’ll probably need to convert your notes into a more modern format — which means that you’ll need to add coding or create a PDF or e-book with a simple text editor.
In this way, your notes will become compatible with any device you use. And that will help you save time, and it will also reduce the risk of forgetting your notes.
Most importantly, when you study with notes, you want to make sure that you can study anytime — anywhere. That means that your notes should work seamlessly on all of your devices.
It’s all about making studying as easy as you possibly can
That’s what it boils down to in the end; studying being as easy as possible. When you’re in a classroom, you probably don’t have time to flip through reams of paper, hoping that you find what you need. Organizing your notes can make studying so much easier, and it can also help you remember the information.