Taking Notes From Textbooks
Updated: Apr 24
Nobody really enjoys reading textbooks, except for maybe the people that wrote them. However, textbooks are an important part of education in any subject, and learning how to study from them is a valuable skill. I will share with you my tips for studying and taking notes from a textbook, without getting too bored.
Reading the Text
Step 1: At the top of the page, write the chapter title in bold letters. Then, on the line right beneath it, include a one-sentence summary of what the chapter is about. This can be taken straight out of the textbook if one is given. (Any time you write exactly what the textbook says, make sure to put quotation marks around it! This will help you remember that you copied a quote from the textbook and the words are not your own.)
Step 2: As you read the rest of the chapter, write down anything that seems important. When you get to a new section, write the section title in bold letters. This will help you organize the information so it's easier to find later. I like to write vocabulary words in bold lettering with the definition following so they are easy to find! For example: mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.
Step 3: After finishing the assigned reading, glance back over your notes. Is there anything you didn't understand? Make a note of it (somewhere that you will see during class) so you can ask your teacher for further explanation.
Studying for the Test
Once you have read the textbook and listened to the class lectures, you will need to review the material a few times before the test. I personally like to complete assignments with my notes open for easy access. As I work on the assignment, any time I need to refer to my notes, I make a star next to what I reviewed. Then when I am preparing for the test, it is easy to tell what material I understand well and what I need to review a few times.
Consistency is Key
Decide on a specific formula for how you like to annotate your notes, and stick to it! I like to write vocabulary in bold letters, underline headings, and put a box or brackets around [important ideas or formulas]. I also color-code my notes for some classes; if that helps you, it can be really fun!
Now you have all the tools you need for an effective study session! Grab your pens and pencils, put on some chill study music, and get to work!