Know how to note


Midterms linger in their final days, and now you know where you stand in your classes. At least you do if your professors update Blackboard.You may start wondering how to improve those grades so you don’t lose your scholarship –  or your sanity.

Throughout every semester, the UNF Academic Center for Excellence hosts copious workshops in different areas – such as choosing a major, decision-making and test anxiety –  in order to promote student success.

The Spinnaker took advantage of one of these workshops –  Note-Taking Tips Oct. 14 – and compiled a list of key points to help you during the remainder of the semester.

Note-Taking Tips:


A lot of note-taking comes from readying yourself prior to class. Make sure to read the chapter(s) your professor will be going over in class before taking your seat.


Speaking of seats, sit in the front and the center of your classes. Yes, you may not want to, but it will help you. It is proven people who sit in the front have higher GPAs than those who sit in the back.

Stay attentive throughout the course of the lecture and note instances in which your professors repeat themselves. If they repeat it, you can bet that topic will be prevalent on the test.
Take notes in your textbook. This is particularly helpful for books on your major, for you’re more likely to keep these.


Since most studying exists outside of the classroom, most note-taking does, too. Pop in a peppermint to open up your mind, and try one of the following strategies.

Mind mapping: A visual breakdown of concepts. Take a broad concept and put it at the center of your map. Then, make stems to more specific topics. After that, you can add definitions, examples or other information to the stems. This method works particularly well for essay-writing.

Charting: A tool useful for history or science classes. Make a chart and label the sections with different titles. Take history, for instance. Titles might be time period, important figures or events and their significance. The result will resemble an Excel spreadsheet.

Cornell Note-Taking System: Place vocabulary or concepts in a thin bar on the left and then you place definitions, details or explanations in the much larger right bar.


Use and abuse teacher-provided study guides. They almost always include information your professors will feature on tests.

Don’t be afraid of office hours. You’re not a sub-par student for seeking additional assistance. Professors are there to help you, so help yourself to their office hours.

Study groups are helpful if you’re an auditory learner. Studies show that people learn and retain 90 percent of what they teach.

Review your notes every day – even if it’s just for five minutes. Repetition helps you move information into your long-term memory – who would have thought?

Make sure you don’t fall into the acronym F.I.N.A.L.S. If you don’t know this acronym, there is a Facebook group dedicated to it. Just make sure to check it out on your down time and not hours before your next test.

You know your learning style, so choose the strategy — or strategies — that appeal to you.
Source: Kellie Woodle, ACE Associate Director