How To: Take Notes & Study

Hello everyone,

Because the first semester is already half way done, I thought I would help you guys prepare for your finals. I have two upcoming semester finals this year: Concurrent Enrollment Basic Nutrition and Concurrent Enrollment Spanish III; I'm so nervous!

I also have mid-terms for my regular classes like honors pre-calculus and honors American studies. I've been reviewing my notes like crazy to prepare myself for my upcoming tests. Please note, most of the notes I am showing you are from my Honors Modern American Studies class because it's a heavy note-taking class, but you can use these tips for any class!

Here are a few of my tips on taking notes:

Notes are a crucial studying tool. I definitely like to take the time to organize my notes after class to make sure they're in order and they make sense while the content is still fresh in my mind.
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Here are what my history notes look like:

Honors Modern American Studies Chapter 7 Section 2

Tip #1

Label your notes. Include the chapter, section, and date you took them. It's much easier to study notes when you know what you're studying. You can even include page numbers if you're referring to a certain text book. Then, when you go back to study your notes you can reread the chapter or section if you desire.

Tip #2

Take your notes in pen. I take my notes in black pen the night before. When I get to class, and my teacher goes over the notes, that's when I add anything extra in purple. By changing up the color, I know the points my teacher added an emphasis on. Perfect for test time! I always remember to include those points in short responses or essay questions.

Tip #3

Make charts. I love comparing and contrasting different topics and people. In my notes you can see I made a chart full of causes and effects of the Teapot Dome Scandal during the 1920s.

Now onto the official study tips to make sure you get an A:

1. Make a study guide.

I cannot tell you how much this helped me on my first history test of the year. Too many people suggest to do this, but they don't explain how to put it together. Here's how I put my study guides together:

Include the chapter and section, theme, and key points. Then go back and add to it. By explaining the topics you'll know what you need to spend the majority of your time reviewing. 

Honors American Studues Chapters 6 & 7

Honors American Studies Chapter 9
Honors American Studies Quarter 1 Assessment Study Guide
Making a study guide is extremely helpful, especially for quarter assessments and midterms. I included the term, definition, and significance of it. This helped me out a ton of the benchmark. Say hello to A's and relief!

2. Make a mind map or timeline.

This works really well for science classes, but I also did it for my history class. Simply take your ideas and map them out. See how one event lead to another. When you're done add short definitions to it. It's such a convenient study tool to pull out right before the test. 

Honors American Studies Chapters 6 & 7

3. Flashcards!

Flashcards were always my go-to study method in elementary school and junior high. Now that I'm older I have a few more classes, with that being said the vocabulary lists are much, much longer. Making 300 flashcards a week is a bit ridiculous. Make flashcards for your "important" classes and classes you're struggling in. I typically make flashcards for CE Basic Nutrition and Honors English 11. I recently had a test on SAT vocabulary; I don't know how I would have done if I didn't make flashcards. They're the perfect study tool!

4. Use an index card for quizzes.

When I'm in a pinch, I use an index card and record all of the information I need to know for the upcoming quiz or test. This is super helpful because I'm writing down the information and I can review it whenever.

Honors American Studies Chapter 6 Section 4

5. Listen to music.

I've always tried listening to Taylor Swift in the background, but now that my content is more in depth and complex, I listen to classical music. I specifically listen to Brian Crain's album Deep Focus Piano Study Play list. It doesn't distract me from my goals.

If you're looking for more study tips check out my All Things School board on Pinterest. I am constantly pinning study methods, tools, and any other things that will make my school life much, much easier.

What are some of your note taking/ studying tips? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,



  1. Thank you soooo much for these! I'm not just saying that because I love you and your blog so much - I really do mean it.
    I've been so pressured lately with so many exams and tests. Last week I had three in the span of two days, and I was so stressed cramming for them. Teachers always tell you to study, but they never teach you how. It's posts like yours that give me study tips, and I'm so satisfied to say I did very well on my tests. ;)
    Best wishes on your upcoming tests; I know you can do it! :) Good luck!
    ~ Sanjana

    1. Sanjana, you are so sweet! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog; it means the world to me. You know that I feel the same about you and your blog! You have such talent! Thanks for the luck, I am most definitely going to need it. I wish you the best of luck as well! xoxo

  2. I love this post (as always) and it's very helpful before all these tests coming up before holidays!

    1. Thank you so much, Asta! I tried to plan it accordingly. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and comment on it! xo