How to Write Study Notes That Really Work!

How to write amazing study notes!

How to write amazing study notes!

Why should you care?

Because writing study notes should be what your teen spends the majority of their time doing while they’re studying for exams!

Why is writing study notes so important?

Your teen has tonnes and tonnes of information to take in during the lead to up exams. And they’re not going to be able to retain this information unless they write a lot of it down.

The act of writing information down consolidates it in your memory in a way that you can’t achieve by only reading. While there are many other methods that your teen should employ while studying – study notes are a must.

The steps to writing study notes that really work

  1. Your teen’s study notes need to be written their own words.

    Simply copying text straight from a book won’t achieve anything at all. Your teen shouldn’t write anything down unless they understand it and can verbalise it easily.

  2. Study notes work best when they’re written in an organised manner.

    This means their notes should be written under headings and subheadings. Each of their subjects should already be broken down into these smaller pieces using subject maps.

    For example, if they’re doing Grade 10 Science, one of the major topics will be Biology. Your teen’s study notes for this topic should be written under the heading – Biology, and then under subheadings, such as Micro-organisms, Cells and DNA, Inheritance, and so on.

    Having organised study notes is really important for later on when your teen is reading over their study notes and wants to find something. This would be impossible if they’d just written anything down anywhere.

  3. Your teen should write their notes in an exercise book to save themselves the hassle of losing random bits of paper.

    If they use one book per subject, then all their study for each subject is in one place and will be easy to find.

  4. It doesn’t really matter whether your teen writes their study notes out in full sentences, or in some form of short-hand, or a mixture of both.

    What is important is that, however they write them, the notes make sense to your teen. It might take a little bit of trial and error, but your teen’s study notes should become personalised to them – they should have your teen’s own personal style.

    Writing study notes in their own way is going to ensure they retain the largest amount of information possible.

  5. We highly recommend that your teen re-writes the parts of their study notes that they find more difficult, and particularly the really important concepts that are bound to come up in the exam.

    We also recommend that your teen reads over their study notes several times during the last few days before the exam. This will help to firmly consolidate what they’ve written.

    I’m positive that readying over my study notes allowed me to pick up at least 20% more marks in my exams.

Well set out study notes

Well set out study notes

It might be a good idea to print these instructions out so your teen can reference them whenever they want until they get the hang of writing study notes. If you want one the points we’ve mentioned about writing study notes explained in more depth we’re only an email or phone call away.

If you’ve been helping your teen create Subject Maps, then your teen should use these to write their study notes. Their subject maps automatically show your teen what they should be studying and also in what order they should write each topic.


  1. abdirahman ahmed says:

    i realy apprietiate for you peaple being cornser ned of our studies .

  2. Thank you Abdirahman! It’s our pleasure. Remember you can email me anytime with any questions about studying you might have :)

    • hi clare thanks for giving such a helpful peice about note making. I am a high school student and i have a lots of problem regarding note making i sometime write down bulk of information so can u plz help me and give an image of proper notes.

      • Hey there! Thanks for your message! Just to clarify – are you talking about taking notes in class or writing out study notes at home while you study? I’m hesitant to send you an image of proper notes, because I don’t think that really exists! There’s really no right way or wrong way, it’s just about figuring out what works for you personally. Something I do might not be useful for you. In saying that, it sounds like you’re saying you tend to write too much in your study notes. If that’s the case, have a go at writing more concisely. When I write study notes I write sentences kind of like I would in a text message, so they’re not full sentences, they just contain the crucial bits of information. Let me know if you want more info on this :)

        • i would like some more advice on how to simplify notes into your own words, and not to write it word for word like i always do, and i find it a HUGE waste of time. please may you help me out here i am dying quiet badly!!!!!!!

          thanks so much for your help Clare

          Regards Michela

          • Hi Michela! Good question! Do you mean you’re writing notes down word for word out of a text book or something? Firstly, if you’re struggling to put things into your own words, this might be a sign that you don’t understand the content well enough. If this isn’t the problem, perhaps you could try and think about what you want to write down before you write it, and ask yourself, what is the simplest way I can express this point? Study notes don’t need to be Shakespeare, they just need to work for YOU, and no one else. Let me know how you go :)

          • hello Clare it is me again Michela, what i meant to say was i am at college, and obviously we receive notes during every lecture, and when i want to revise my notes i copy down word for word. i struggle to put them into my own words, and i land up rewriting the whole thing of notes out again and i am not absorbing the information into my head!!!!
            thank you so much for your advice in your first comment you sent me!!!! it was really a huge help.

            thank you Clare

            BTW such a beautiful name!!!!! :)

            Regards Michela. xx

  3. sreya avinash says:

    superb notes
    it would really help each student

  4. jazeb ehsan says:

    it’s helpful :)

  5. Dat ws quit helpul.. All m confused is abt how to organise my notes in a systematic
    way wen refering diff books..i.e. hw cn i mak a good consolidated note?
    2-shud i make separate notes of theory n solve my practicals separately?
    3-will only reading summarised notes during exms n nt refring books will b sufficient…
    plss help me by answerin dis reply me fast..i hav dis very imp exams coming near n havent prepared anythig….

    • Hi Nisha! Sometime there’s no easy way out with studying – consolidating study notes can take some time, but by the end of it, it should be worth your while!
      Separating your theoretical and practical study sounds like a good idea to me, but it will probably depend on how much the two are related.
      You don’t have to only summarise notes during exams – but we find this a really useful thing to do. If you don’t feel comfortable only relying on summarised notes, then there’s nothing saying you can’t read fuller notes. It’s just that summarising them is a fantastic way to improve your information retention.
      Best of luck! :)

  6. Really Nice Thank you very much It helped me allot ….i appreciate the time and effort you put in Thank you very much once again

  7. k rahul dnkr says:

    i have this habit of making notes but sometimes as i study from various sources sometimes my notes gets big … any way through which i can make it more concise and is it bad to have bigger notes????

    • There is nothing bad about having ‘big’ study notes. It’s all about what works for you, so if you think that writing out lots of notes is an effective way to help you study, then go for it! If you want to make them more concise though, that’s fine too. You could start with your first set of notes and then from those, write a new set of notes that really only picks out the key points from your first set. Re-writing study notes can actually be really good for our information retention. I used to find it really helpful!

  8. siddhani says:

    Actually, I find difficulty in preparing my study notes… Bcz i do not knw hw to make a sentence or a paragraph short in order to understand it easily…i do re- write the same para again in my notes which is of no, plz can u give me few suggestions to write my study notes……..

    • Study notes can be a really helpful tool for remembering information and for consolidating information. They’re probably less helpful when you don’t quite yet understand the topic. If you’re struggling with writing your study notes, maybe this is because you don’t yet fully understand what you’re writing? Once you do understand something, writing it down in full sentences, bullet points, or even short-hand should be a lot easier. If you think you do understand what you’re studying but are still having trouble writing your notes please let me know and we’ll tease this out more :)

      • thanks for giving ur information.cauze i coudnt think how to make short notes,but nw i know hw to make a short notes,,thankssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. is it ok if we can type out our own short notes in MS word and get a print out?does it have to be hand written?

    • Of course! Study notes can take any form at all. It’s all about what’s going to work for YOU. If typing out of your notes on a computer helps you to understand the content and retain information effectively, then go for it :)

      • thanks a lot !!!!! you and this website are awesome. You guys have an amazing capability of understanding children . Well, i’m a grade 10 student from Sri Lanka(you know, the small country under India). Even though there is a big difference between the way teachers teach you, i like to learn the way you guys do it. Thanks guys!!

  10. thanks but i am in grade 6 so i dont understand how to convert sentences in our own words. pls help

    • Your own words don’t have to be Shakespeare – just give it a go and I’m sure whatever you write will be fine. When you’re writing studying notes out in your own words, it’s not so much the actual words you write down that matter, it’s more the act of writing itself that helps to consolidate what you’ve studied. It will also help you figure out where your knowledge gaps are, because if you can’t write something down in your own words, it’s probably because you don’t understand it well enough yet. You can do it!

      • Sometimes writing notes helps me…but for huge syllabus and to learn a book of 700 pages..i dont think writing notes is an easy there any other technique to learn huge book..covering all the topics

  11. I think that this information is really useful, yet it annoys me the fact that if other people are not able to understand your notes there “Wrong” and I am fed up on copying other people’s styles that I don’t understand. So I need a bit of help with this please.

  12. C.Abisheka says:

    Great!! Really helped me a lot.. Tnx

  13. This is actually phenomenal. I am in university now and I am STILL using this method (as I have been for a very long time) it is 100% the best setup I have come across!

  14. Isobel Stones says:

    hiya thanks a lot they really help scince we’re coming up to exam week with fiveteen exams coming up!! :(
    but thankyou very much this will help me and my friends so much to study and not to just cram it all in at the last moment (like last year) :p haha. thnx and i would love it if you could help put up more posts like this please.

  15. Must I write summarised or full notes before exam. Full notes make us understand better.. Is that true.. Pls reply :)

    • It’s really up to you! You should do whatever is going to help you understand and retain information most effectively. We all study best in different ways, so if writing out study notes in full helps you, then that’s what you should do. You might find though that summarised notes work just as well. You just have to try and find out! :)

  16. Ravindu Dananjaya says:

    thnx for creatin this page and this notes. its very helpfull. if you nevermind, can you tell me are you teaching english?

  17. Mogomotsi Sebata says:

    hey clare.
    i’m in grade 10 and i’m struggling to study as in i don’t know what to write for my notes.
    i write notes in class but writing notes in class is different from study notes..
    what do write as study notes?..

    • Hey there! Great question! Study notes might include the notes that you have written in class, but they might include content from elsewhere – maybe extra things you have learnt whilst you have been studying, diagrams, anything really! Study notes can take whatever form is going to help you understand and retain information most effectively. I write out study notes because it helps me remember content, and it shows me what topics I don’t understand well enough. Study notes also help me see how a subject fits together – they help me see the ‘big picture’.

  18. What’s your email Clare? I wanted to ask you more about this. I’m a high school student and I really need help.

  19. hi Clare, im a high school student and i follow the Indian syllabus so there’s a lot to study i dont know about the other systems but history is really long and i dont know how to makes notes for history. Can you help me?

    • Hi Emily! It’s a really good question – it’s not obvious what the right way to study for subjects like History is. Having taken History myself at school, I found that writing practice essays was invaluable (although I’m not sure how you’re examined in India – is it essays for History?). But you can build up to writing a full length essay – perhaps one paragraph or topic at a time. My History teacher taught us this great technique for remembering the key points of an essay – maybe it will help you: What you do, is figure out what the key points of your essay are. There might be, say 5 or so in an essay. For each key point (which will be about one paragraph), you assign a letter, and try and make a mnemonic out of the letters. The idea is that you go into the exam knowing that your essay will be built around this mnemonic. Of course you have to practice writing out the essay, but it really helped me remember all of the information that would go into an essay in an exam. Another thing you can try for History study is making mind maps and other types of diagrams. Doing well in History isn’t just about remembering dates and names, the good marks come from understanding the bigger picture – how do the sub-topics relate to one another? What is the greater significance of the event/era/character? And diagrams can be a great way of helping you figure out and remember how the various ‘sub-topics’ fit together and relate to one another. Ultimately what I am saying, is that whether you’re writing notes, writing practice essays, or drawing diagrams, I would try and avoid writing tonnes of notes out unless you understand why what you’re writing about is important, and where it fits in the bigger picture. Otherwise I think you’ll have little chance of retaining the information. Let me know if I’ve just confused you more / if you want more info :)

  20. THANKS Clare&Chris

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