Another busy semester has begun, and this time, along with enjoying your new friends and extracurricular activities, you are dedicating yourself this semester to making the best grades ever and increasing your overall GPA. In order to do that, you need to make sure that you have the correct textbooks for your classes to be sure that you at least are on the same page as your professors. There are thousands upon thousands of different textbooks that may have a lot of the same information that pertains to the classes that you are taking; however, it is up to the discretion of your professor as to the exact books that you will need to purchase for their class, because not all books are the same. Also, after you buy textbooks you will then need to have a good idea of how to take notes from your books, without having an overload of information to overwhelm your brain.
Ask Your School’s Bookstore About Making Notations
Before you decide to make any types of marks inside your textbooks, especially if you have rented them but also if you decide that you want to sell your books after the semester is over, make sure that you understand your institution’s policy regarding making notations or other marks inside of your books. Sometimes the books will not be sellable or returnable if they have too many notations or highlighter marks within the book. Keep in mind that, although you are striving for your best grades, the next student that may need your book will appreciate it more if it gets to them in mint condition.
Study with a Purpose
At first, it may seem as though it will be necessary to thoroughly read each chapter that your professor assigns you to read. You may believe that you need to read from the beginning to the end, and then take notes. Doing this prepares you to feel overwhelmed, and to feel as though you have wasted so much time. In an effort to avoid this, it is best that you acquire an overview of the chapter, read the headings throughout the chapter to get an idea of what you are studying, and then read paragraphs that cover the main idea of the chapter. You can then highlight any important points that seem to be a recurring topic or theme of the chapter, and then make notes as you go through the chapter so that you do not forget what you read, or what new information you have learned.
Make Detailed Notes
Just as this information has headers, and then sub-headings or bullet points, you will have to have your study notes arranged in a similar way. Although there are different methods of making your study notes, such as flashcards or using the Cornell method, the most basic method way to make great study notes is to break the information down into lists and bullets. For example, you could be writing notes about how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and the way that he discovered it by writing your notes this way:
Sir Isaac Newton Discovered Gravity
- Discovered the existence of gravity by way of an apple falling on his head as he sat under an apple tree.
- Gravity is a force of attraction.
- Realized the force was responsible for pulling the apple down to the Earth.
As you become more comfortable with listing your notes in this way, you can then make bullets under the original bullets to go into even more detail of the notes that you are taking. You can then go on to research other ways and methods that other students have used to take really good notes.
Keep Them Organized
Keep in mind that, besides learning new information on the subject that you have chosen to major in, the main reason that you need to take well written, comprehensively detailed notes is to pass your exams, especially your final exams. There is nothing like having a stack of reliable notes that you have written throughout the semester and being able to have them handy for studying during the week of finals! Make sure to keep your notes organized chronologically, and staple or paperclip them together as packets, and stash them away for later in a plastic portfolio so that when the professor says that the final is going to be cumulative, you will be more than prepared to go over all of the information that you studied over the past few months and not have to worry about what to study.
Now you know how to buy textbooks and have learned to ask about the policies on if it is safe to make notations inside them or not in the case you have rented or would like to sell your books, you also have an idea on how to make some seriously amazing notes and how to organize them so that they come in handy during finals week; and while the rest of your classmates and peers are panicking about their exams, you are studying without a care due to your diligence of organizing your notes and saving them for later. By following all of these steps, your grades are bound to skyrocket, and you are on your way to academic success and future goal achievements!