Studying Starts in the Classroom

Notetaking Skills

The first step in developing your study skills is to take better notes. Good notetaking teaches you how to come to class prepared and helps you retain and review biology concepts and vocabulary like a pro!

Watch the video for tips on how to take great notes >

Below are other resources for good notetaking.

The Cornell note taking method is very popular among students. It is a great way to help you stay organized and take notes effectively during classes.


To use this method of note-taking:
  • Divide the paper into sections by drawing a line down your page 2 1/2 inches from the left side to create a 2 1/2 inch margin. This will be used for writing down the key words. Then draw another 6-inch area on the right for sentence summaries.
  • During the class, you will record your notes in the 6-inch area on the right side of your paper. When doing this, it’s important to use your own words. Also, make sure to include the main ideas and any other important details.
  • When you’re writing down your notes, use short sentences and phrases that you can understand. Make sure your writing is legible and clear. Don’t try to take down everything that is being said during the class. Take down points and be brief.
  • Review your summary sentences and underline key words. Don’t over do it when underlining because you don’t want to create a mess, or a page that is too difficult to read.
  • When reviewing your notes, write the keywords in the column on the left side of your page. This column is often referred to as the recall column and it should just contain key phrases to help you recall the information.
  • These words can be used later when you a studying to stimulate your memory of the material and make it easier to recall. By using the recall column you can use the keywords to test your understanding of the topics discussed in class and think through the information clearly.
  • When you are revising your notes after class, you re-read the main 6-inch column notes but spend the majority of your time studying the key points in the left column. This is where the most important ideas are.
Some students like to create a third section at the bottom of the page where they write a summary of the main ideas.