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August 26, 2014 - Posted by Miriam to Guides

As much as we don't want to let go of summer, we have to admit that our heartbeats quicken at the thought of shiny new school supplies. For students heading off to college, this is the perfect time to reevaluate your study habits and adopt some tried-and-true tools. To help you prepare, we've rounded up some of our favorite note-taking strategies that will help you power through the semester.

Divide and Conquer
Use dotted line paper to divide the page into neat sections.

One of the best ways to maximize the effectiveness of your note-taking is to split up your paper into sections. Carve out a margin to the right or left for listing out main points, as well as a section at the bottom of the page to write a succinct summary. That way, it's easier to remember the main points when you're studying later. The Kokuyo Campus Twin Ring Notebook features evenly spaced dots along the lines that are the perfect guidelines to divide your paper. Simply place your ruler along the dots and draw in lines to designate these spaces. You can even line the sections with washi tape for a fun, personalized look.

Products featured: Kokuyo Campus Twin Ring Notebook, Sonic Nobirura 16<->30 cm Extendable Ruler, Pine Book Nami Nami Deco Masking Tape - 8 mm - Antique Key

Use index tabs to create an edge index for easy reference.

More times than not, there will be several themes that your professor references again and again throughout the semester. Use index tabs to represent each theme and tag them in your notes for easy look-up later. For even better organization, have an index page in the back delineating the themes and line up the tabs to each theme on the index page. When you're studying for your midterms or finals, you just have to flip to the index page and you'll know immediately where the relevant notes are.

Products featured: Jstory Smile Tab Stickers - Owl, Metaphys Rin Index Film Stickers
Also consider: 3M Post-it Portable Design Film Page Markers

Use different styles of loose leaf paper and rearrange them in notebooks that can open.

This tip is especially handy in classes where you're sketching out diagrams, charts, or other drawings in addition to taking written notes. We recommend the Lihit Lab Aqua Drops Twist Ring Notebook, which has easy-to-open rings for you to arrange and rearrange as you please. You can use different sheet styles including lined, graph, and plain, depending on the needs of the class. After each class, rearrange the loose leaf papers in a logical way and you'll have neat, well-organized notes.

Products featured: Lihit Lab Aqua Drops Twist Ring Notebook, Lihit Lab Twist Ring Notebook Loose Leaf Paper - 5 mm Graph, Lihit Lab Twist Ring Notebook Loose Leaf Paper - Plain

Master Your Writing Instruments
Use multi pens to color code text content.

Color coding is a proven method not just for note-taking, but general organizing as well. Using a multi pen is a convenient way to color code your notes because you don't have to switch pens to switch colors. The secret to being effective is to limit the number of colors you use; otherwise, you can become overwhelmed when you look back at your notes. The correlation between the colors and theme should be easily recalled. Pick a color coding system that works for you. For example, in history class, we like to use red for important dates, blue for influential people, and green for significant events and places.

Products featured: Uni Jetstream 4&1 4 Color 0.5 mm Ballpoint Multi Pen + 0.5 mm Pencil
Also consider: Zebra Sarasa 3+S 3 Color 0.5 mm Gel Ink Multi Pen + 0.5 mm Pencil, Pilot 2+1 Light 2 Color 0.7 mm Ballpoint Multi Pen + 0.5 mm Pencil

Use highlighters to pinpoint important information.

While you look over your notes, use a highlighter to highlight parts that you need to study again in more depth. The trick is to use it sparingly to not overwhelm the page with fluorescent ink. We like using erasable highlighters, because we can erase it after we're satisfied with the amount of time spent studying those parts. The FriXion highlighter erases with friction, so make sure not to use it with pencil or other inks that may rub off easily. You should allow the highlighted segments to dry completely before trying to erase it; it may smear otherwise. Another great highlighter is the versatile Kokuyo Beetle Tip, which allows you to use three styles of highlighting: a fine line, a thick line, and two parallel lines, depending on your preference.

Products featured: Pilot FriXion Light Erasable Highlighter, Kokuyo Beetle Tip 3way Highlighter Pen
Also consider: Uni Propus Erasable Highlighter Pen - Yellow

Use scented pens to jog your memory.

Studies have shown that smell and memory are closely linked, and what better way to implement this than in your note-taking? We'll take any excuse to channel our inner Elle Woods and use our scented pens. Take the same pen you wrote your notes with to do practice tests, and see if the scent helps you recall the correct answers! If that works for you, bring the same pen with you on test day.

Products featured: Pilot Plumix Fountain Pen, Pilot Fountain Pen CON-20 Converter, J. Herbin Scented Fountain Pen Ink - Sample Set of 5 Scents

Memo-rise to the Occasion
Use memo notes to create a summary or page of highlights.

For every chapter or section of notes, we recommend using memo notes to create a summary or list of highlights. That way, you can have a quick refresher before each class to remind yourself what happened the last class. It's also a good way to study for a midterm--you can look through each memo note and decide which chapters you need to focus on. Then you can go through that specific section in more detail later.

Products featured: Maruman Smooth to Write Loose Leaf Mini Paper - Multi Color, Kokuyo Campus Slide Binder
Also consider: Maruman Smooth to Write Loose Leaf Mini Paper - White

Use pocket memo notes to keep miscellaneous items.

We always keep a pocket memo book on us to jot down homework assignments or other housekeeping information that is class-related, but not necessarily relevant to the content of our notes. These "Keeper" memo notes are great for safekeeping those miscellaneous items. You can tear out a page and stick it into the pocket to look back at later! It's a good idea to keep everything written down and in one place so you're not scrambling around to find what you need.

Products featured: Bonomemo Keeper Sticky Memos - Green, Kokuyo Tidbit Free Cut Memo Pad - Graph
Also consider: Kokuyo Tidbit Free Cut Memo Pad - Lines

Use "window" memos on important diagrams and drawings.

See-through "window" memos let you trace any important diagram or drawing from your textbook or class handouts to transfer to your notes. This is a great way to keep all the important information in your notes, so you don't have to waste time flipping through your textbook or other handouts to find one elusive diagram. You can also use opaque memo notes to cover up the diagrams and try to replicate them from memory when you study. Then, take the notes off the ones you've mastered. You'll remember to scrutinize the covered diagrams more carefully in your next study session.

Products featured: Bonomemo Window Sticky Memos - Ver.2
Also consider: The Giving Notes Adhesive Memo Notes, Bonomemo Window Sticky Memos - Ver.5

Final Thoughts

We hope these tips will help you become more effective in your studying as you begin this new school year! Let us know you have other study or note-taking tips in the comments below.

If you're looking for other school supplies, we have a variety of guides that can help you choose exactly what you need:

Strategy and Tips Products Featured
I. Divide and Conquer:
1. Use dotted line paper to divide the page into neat sections..
Kokuyo Campus Twin Ring Notebook - Semi B5 - Dotted 7 mm Rule - 40 Sheets Sonic Nobirura 16<->30 cm Extendable Ruler - Orange Pine Book Nami Nami Deco Masking Tape - 8 mm - Antique Key
I. Divide and Conquer:
2. Use index tabs to create an edge index for easy reference.
Jstory Smile Tab Stickers - Owl Metaphys Rin Index Film Stickers - Black - Pack of 25 X 6 Sheets 3M Post-it Portable Design Film Page Markers - Blue
I. Divide and Conquer:
3. Use different styles of loose leaf paper and rearrange them in notebooks that can open.
Lihit Lab Aqua Drops Twist Ring Notebook - Semi B5 - Lined - 30 Sheets - Orange Lihit Lab Twist Ring Notebook Loose Leaf Paper - Semi B5 - 5 mm Graph - 30 Sheets Lihit Lab Twist Ring Notebook Loose Leaf Paper - Semi B5 - Plain - 30 Sheets
II. Master Your Writing Instruments:
1. Use multi pens to color code text content.
Uni Jetstream 4&1 4 Color 0.5 mm Ballpoint Multi Pen + 0.5 mm Pencil - Light Pink Body Zebra Sarasa 3+S 3 Color 0.5 mm Gel Ink Multi Pen + 0.5 mm Pencil - Orange Body Pilot 2+1 Light 2 Color 0.7 mm Ballpoint Multi Pen + 0.5 mm Pencil - Pink Body
II. Master Your Writing Instruments:
2. Use highlighters to pinpoint important information.
Pilot FriXion Light Erasable Highlighter - Yellow Kokuyo Beetle Tip 3way Highlighter Pen - Yellow Uni Propus Erasable Highlighter Pen - Yellow
II. Master Your Writing Instruments:
3. Use scented pens to jog your memory.
Pilot Plumix Fountain Pen - Medium Flat Italic Nib - Black Body Pilot Fountain Pen CON-20 Converter J. Herbin Scented Fountain Pen Ink - Sample Set of 5 Scents - 10 ml Bottles
III. Memo-rise to the Occasion:
1. Use memo notes to create a summary or page of highlights.
Maruman Smooth to Write Loose Leaf Mini Paper - B7 Modified - 6 mm Rule - 3 Color Assortment - 9 Holes - 90 Sheets Kokuyo Campus Slide Binder - B5 - 26 Rings - Light Blue Maruman Smooth to Write Loose Leaf Mini Paper - B7 Modified - 6 mm Rule - 9 Holes - 100 Sheets
III. Memo-rise to the Occasion:
2. Use pocket memo notes to keep miscellaneous items.
Bonomemo Keeper Sticky Memos - Green Kokuyo Tidbit Free Cut Memo Pad - A7 (4.1 X 2.9) - 5 mm Graph - 80 sheets Kokuyo Tidbit Free Cut Memo Pad - A7 (4.1 X 2.9) - 6 mm Lines - 80 sheets
III. Memo-rise to the Occasion:
3. Use "window" memos on important diagrams and drawings.
Bonomemo Window Sticky Memos - Ver.2 The Giving Notes Adhesive Memo Notes - White - 60 mm X 60 mm - 70 Sheets Bonomemo Window Sticky Memos - Ver.5



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