Your Guide to Making Great Study and Textbook Notes

textbook notes

Taking the right textbook notes could make a big difference in your grades. When you’re just starting out taking college notes, it could take a bit of trial and error and some time to perfect your note-taking skills. Taking notes in your notebook and outside of your textbook will help you keep all of your texts in tip-top shape. 

This is essential for ensuring you can resell your texts once the semester is over or return them to the rental company without any issues. Although you may feel tempted to underline, highlight, or jot notes down in your actual textbook, you can take successful notes without doing so.

In the guide below, you’ll find several helpful tips for taking notes and ensuring you study effectively. Continue reading to get started! 

Focus on Main Ideas and Keywords

When taking notes in class, it’s important to place the majority of your focus on the main ideas and keywords mentioned. Trying to write down everything that’s said in a class by your professor or everything that’s written down by your professor is sometimes unrealistic. This also prevents you from actually listening to what’s being said and taught. 

Instead, try to determine what the main topic or idea for that class is. Pick out key events or keywords being talking about. If the professor is using the textbook for the lecture, then make note of the pages discussed or reviewed for that class. 

If you’re not using the textbook during the lecture, then after class, take a look in your textbook to find the chapters or pages where the same topic is mentioned so you can refer back to it when studying. 

Understand Different Note-Taking Styles

Next, it’s important to understand that there are several different note-taking styles. To determine which one works best for you, go through each different style and find the right one for you. Here’s are a few different note-taking methods to try. 

Cornell Method

In the Cornell method, you’ll create two columns. One column is for “cue” and the other is for “note.” Then, there’s one bottom section, which is for recording notes. This is called the summary section. 

This method is good for extracting main ideas and concepts. 

Outline Method

The outline method is a great way to keep your notes organized by creating a hierarchy. You will need a clear structure of information to create outline notes from. It’s best to use this method when taking notes for your textbook. 

This method could be a bit more difficult when trying to take notes from a professor’s lecture. 

Charting Method

For the charting method, you’ll create a chart to take your notes in. The chart will have rows and columns. When taking notes from information that’s statistical, this method can help greatly. 

It’s best to use this method when taking notes straight from the textbook rather than from an actual lecture. 

Boxing Method

The box method helps you separate different topics from one page of your textbook. The box method makes reviewing your notes simple, which makes it a great option for visual learners. 

Sentence Method

The sentence method is one of the simplest methods of note-taking. If you can write quickly while listening to a lecture, then this could be a good method for you to use. However, this method isn’t great for taking a large number of notes. 

This method isn’t as organized and can be difficult to go back through and review if there’s an extensive amount of them. 

Discover What Works Best For You

Although there are a few note-taking methods that you can try, what’s most important is that you find what works best for you. You can test out a few of the methods listed above or create your own method. As long as you can read your notes and clearly understand them, that method will be what’s most effective for you. 

It might take some trial and error and corrections to your own style before you come up with a customized note-taking style that’s right for you. 

Record Lectures and Review Slides

Because it’s sometimes difficult to take notes while listening to a lecture, a great way to improve your note-taking is to record the lecture while it’s happening. You can then focus on the professor and what’s being taught. After class, you can listen to the recording and take notes from the recording. 

Be sure to ask your professor for permission to record the lecture for note-taking purposes. If they write notes on the board, then you can take a picture of the notes with your cell phone and then review it later to take notes from. Most professors will also post lecture slides online for students to access after the lecture as well. 

Remove Distractions While Taking Textbook Notes

To improve your note-taking skills, it’s always ideal to remove distractions. If you find yourself becoming distracted by your cell phone, people or noises around you, or something else, then you should relocate and place your phone on silent. Keep in mind that everyone studies and takes notes best in different environments. 

Some people need absolute silence while others work better with some background noise. Find an ideal location for you, so you can take your notes efficiently. 

Spare Your Textbook and Save Money

Taking notes outside of your textbook will help you spare your textbook and save you money. Textbook notes can be taken in your notebooks using these helpful tips listed above. When your textbook is left clean and free of any markings, you can then resell it or return it as a rental without the worry of fees or other issues. is your number one place for cheap textbooks! Save money while in college by comparing textbook prices and choosing to rent textbooks at the cheapest price rather than buy.

Browse our available textbooks to find the cheapest price option today. 

How to Finish Reading Your College Textbook Quickly and Study Effectively

study effectively

College can be overwhelming at times. There’s no denying it. The workload in college is much more extensive than in high school. You’ll be expected to manage several courses all with high expectations of you and, of course, lots of exams and assignments. Although it might seem like too much to handle at first, you can overcome it. When you learn how to study effectively and spread out your workload, you can tackle anything that’s thrown at you.

To begin, it’s essential to know some of the best college study tips. In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a college study schedule and much more. Continue reading below to get started on the path to becoming a better college student!

Rent Your Textbooks Versus Buying

One of the first things you want to do at the beginning of each semester is rent your textbooks. Renting your textbooks is less stressful than buying and helps save you some money. There are many great places for you to rent your textbooks from. 

The rental process is as simple as providing the course information and then verifying the text matches up with the syllabus. When renting, you’ll have a due date to return the books by. In the meantime, you’ll have a college textbook for much cheaper than when buying at your college campus bookstore. 

Be sure to rent your textbooks as soon as you know what you need to prevent the possibility of something being out of stock.

Keep Everything Organized

When given a wide workload, it’s important to remember to keep everything organized. You should have a notebook with folders to separate each class. In the folders, you can place the course syllabus and other important documents. 

You can also consider using a binder or different individual folders for each class. Make sure to label everything as well. This will help you stay organized. 

You should also have a calendar on your wall where you can write down important due dates or events. Don’t hesitate to use your phone’s calendar as well. Keeping a daily planner can also come in handy. 

Put your daily planner in your bookbag with your textbooks and notebooks. Have it with you at all times to write in assignments or exam due dates. In the planner, you should also write down days and times you’ll dedicate to getting your studying done. 

Take Clear Notes

When studying your textbook, you need to take clear notes. If you can’t read your own handwriting, then this could lead to problems later on when you try to review what you wrote. For people with sloppy handwriting, taking notes on a laptop might be a better idea. 

Otherwise, be sure to write clearly and in a way that makes sense to you. Everyone has their own way of taking notes. There are even several different note-taking strategies that are taught in school. The right one for you is the one that you understand the best. 

There’s no right or wrong answer here, you simply need to know what your notes are saying and how to refer back to the information in the text. Be sure to focus on the main ideas and key points. 

Place Yourself in a Good Study Environment

While reading your text and taking notes, you need to place yourself in a good study environment. The best study environment is whatever works well for you. Some people study best when surrounded by others and background noise. 

Others focus better when in complete silence. Take your time conducting a trial and error if you’re not sure. Find what environment you study best in. 

Then, remember to eliminate distractions. Place your phone on silent and relocate if something around you is distracting you. 

Create a Daily Schedule/Routine For Yourself

Creating a daily schedule can help boost productivity levels. There’s no better time than now to develop a routine for yourself. Start by waking up in the morning at the same time each day and do the same at night. 

Try to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same times each day as well. Then, figure out where studying fits best into your schedule. Give yourself a certain amount of time each day for homework and studying. 

Your studying time shouldn’t be rushed or during a stressful time of the day. It should be during a time where you’re flexible and can go over your given study time if needed without feeling rushed or worried about the next item on your schedule. 

Build Study Groups

Studying with your peers is a great way to get a different perspective on a topic. If there’s something you don’t understand, then one of your peers could be able to explain it to you better than when taught in class. You might also learn a few studying tips and tricks as well. 

You can build study groups by communicating with other students in the same class as you. Then, come together to help one another grasp the concepts that are being taught. 

Prioritize and Take It One Step at a Time

It’s also important to remember to prioritize your studies. Take it one step at a time and start with what needs to be done first or something you’re having the most difficulty with. Don’t overdo it. 

Give yourself breaks when needed and remember that your mind can only hold so much information at one time. Take it day by day and break your studying down to create an effective study plan. 

How Can You Study Effectively?

Will you be able to study effectively while in college? Everyone studies and learns differently. What’s most important is that you discover what works best for you.

Use the advice given in this guide above to help you down the right path. 

Are you in need of a few college textbooks? Why not rent your books? Browse through our list of available textbooks to rent to get started today!