Taking Notes: Finding Your Niche

Taking Notes: Finding Your Niche

Probably one of the most frequent questions I get asked is about note-taking. What I use to take notes, how I prepare to take notes in class, my style of note-taking. I can not emphasize the point enough; I encourage everyone in the nursing field and going through nursing school to find the note-taking style that best fits your needs! There are thousands of ways to take notes, but only one way will most benefit you. Find what works and stick with it! Here are just a few tips and tricks I used to help narrow in my focus on notes and note-taking because, let's face it, we take A LOT of them!

  • Colored Ink/Pens: I found that having a "key" when writing notes helped me. Sometimes we write so many letters in one class and almost have to shorthand the note-taking, it helped me when I went back and had to rewrite! Stars were for key points, which the professor may have repeated or stated we needed to know. Orange was, for example, pink was for definitions, etc. Find what works best for you! 
  • Organize Your Notes: Before class, I always took the time to look over my notes briefly. If there were page numbers listed, I would tab them in my book with a sticky that stated "Page #__," so I would remember to look in the book and read! When taking notes, being prepared and ready is always the best-case scenario, as you are already one step ahead and can focus on the content, not feverishly writing notes!
  • Rewriting: After classes for the day, I always would take a one to two-hour break. Then work on rewriting specific class notes! We can all agree that we might get a little sloppy or not fully complete a thought when writing notes. Rewriting those notes is an opportunity not only to see the content again but get your thoughts organized and have a mini-study session with yourself!
  • PowerPoints: Some professors love to use PowerPoint and hand them out to the class to take notes! BONUS, right?! BUT, they will copy from the book or put it in their own words. This is an opportunity to take your notes off to the side or on the slide! Write down quotes, write down page numbers, so when you go back to rewrite, you have the teacher's notes + yours! 
  • Enjoy the process: Learning your note-taking strategy can take some time! Do not get frustrated; just take your time figuring out your needs and what you can make happen and go from there. You got this!

I hope these tips and tricks may help some of you find a way to help your note-taking journeys. Remember, everyone is different, everyone's needs are different… so find what works for you!! Good luck, and happy studying! 


Written by: Haley Goff

Instagram: nursehaleyy


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