Learning How To Take Notes In College

Taking notes during class is an important part of any course. Whether the instructor writes everything down on the board or does no writing at all, you should be jotting down notes as you go. A lot of times we take notes that really don’t explain anything. Just about everyone has gone to their notebook to study for a test and found that the notes they took are disjoint or just don’t help to explain the material. Many times you understand something during class and jot down a quick note but by the time you go back to study you forget the details.

Split page note taking is a technique that allows you to take two different sets of notes for the same information. It is incredibly simple to do and can yield incredible results. The basic idea is to take a normal sheet of paper that you would take notes on and split it with a vertical line. Some people split the page in half where others leave a space no bigger than the margin on the page. Each person determines how they want to split the page based on their experience using the system.

On the right side of the vertical line you take notes just as you normally would. In math and science classes you would work through problems on this side as well. The left side of the vertical line is for you to comment on the notes you just took. Here are some examples of what the left side of the page can be used for:

  • Clarify remarks and summaries of the notes
  • Comments indicating important points
  • Explanation of how a problem was done step by step
  • Questions about things that are unclear as reminders to ask the teacher or do more to clarify
  • Rewording of notes the teacher gave that may not be clear
  • Say your instructor writes down a word and gives you a specific definition they would like you to remember. This will go on the right side of the page.
  • On the left side of the page, just next to this definition, you should write a definition in your own words or an example that helps to make sense of the definition.

If you are working through a complicated math or science problem you can work through the steps on the right side of the line and the explanation of each step or where numbers came from can go on the left side. This helps you to not only follow the math and formulas used in a complicated problem but to understand why they were used as well.

Split page note taking really allows you to personalize your notes and make your notebook more efficient. The amount of space on every page of the notebook that is saved for special notes will most likely be more beneficial to you than the original notes. Many people have a very difficult time taking good notes but practicing this technique will eventually lead you to better note taking.