1. Review the assigned readings BEFORE class instead of after!

I know, some of you are probably thinking “why would I do that ?” but it really improves your college notes! I personally would review the topic that would be covered before a lecture (instead of after) because I would have a better understanding going into class. If your professor has recommended/suggested reading you should definitely read those too! The simple task of going to class prepared goes a long way because it will be easier to jot down and organize notes during a lecturecollege notes

2. Don’t sit in the last row in the class!

Sitting in the back row makes it very difficult to focus on the lecture and stay engaged. Try to get in the front of the class! If you are uncomfortable being front row and center then try for the second or third row. Talking from experience, my notes were much more detailed when I sat in the front instead of the back. I was able to pay attention better because I wasn’t distracted from other classmates. In high school, I was definitely a “back of the class” kinda gal however, changing to the front row positively reflected on my notes and overall grades


3. Summarize key points in your own words!

This is a MUST! Writing notes in your own words allows you to boost your critical thinking! Your college notes will make much more sense in your own words instead of your professors. Summarizing is also great way to practice and boost your critical thinking skills. In my experience, I  recall key-points  and terms better when I do not write my notes word-for-word. Summarizing key points and coming up with my own definition to terms really helped me improve my college notes.
college notes
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Now you are ready to improve your notes! If you need some further inspiration check out my related post about note-takers who get really creative.



  1. Great post! I’m currently doing a post grad study program and needed to read this! I definitely think summarising in your own words is so important, it allows you to understand and process the information as you write it down. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Great tips!! I especially agree with sitting towards the front of the class – I always found that to be helpful. I also felt like I retained info a lot better when I took notes by hand rather than with a computer.

  3. I love this Lauren! I’m a college advisor and I plan to share these with my students. I especially liked #1, since that isn’t one that I had thought of before but it makes great sense.

  4. Nice article. I kind of sat mostly on last benches though I complied remaining 2 of your points! But your theory of first benchers does make sense. So many things to change if I could do high school all over again!

  5. I wish I knew these things before I started college. But it’s SO true! Especially doing readings BEFORE class. I had no idea my first year and so I was way far behind.

  6. this is so helpful i used to tend to sit in the back to be close to the door but i’ll try sitting closer so that i can engage more!

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