Is Rewriting Notes an Effective Studying Method or a Waste of Time?

August 23, 2021

Note-taking is a proven strategy for helping students retain and retrieve information. Scribbling notes hurriedly in class is not enough; to benefit fully from note-taking, you need to rewrite your notes. Here are some things you can do to enrich your notes and make them more valuable.

Personalise Your Note-Taking

Writing something down helps you remember it. The better your notes, the more likely you are to remember information. "Better" here does not necessarily mean recopying all the data you obtain in class. Instead, it pertains to how relevant the notes are to your thinking process. For example, some people think better with flowcharts, while others prefer to annotate quotes and figures from the lecture.

Rewrite Your Class Notes

It can be challenging to capture everything a teacher says in class. When you write notes in class, don't leave it at that. Rewrite them during your independent study time so that you can fill in missing content. You can also see how concepts from different lectures relate to each other, which reinforces what you had learned previously. This is especially valuable during HSC tutoring sessions.

Structure and Organise Your Notes

When you take notes whilst your teacher is talking, how often does the topic bounces from one subject to another? Organise your notes by sorting the information in a way that makes sense to you. For example, you could use the course syllabus to outline the topics. You could also organise your notes by category or by the chapters in your textbook. Try different ways of compiling your notes and see which one works for you.

Make Your Rewritten Notes Neat and Attractive

Notes help students prepare for exams. However, if all you have are the rough notes you made in class, it might not inspire you to review for exams. Keep your notes clean and organised to make reviewing easier for you. Add summaries to your notes and use bulleted lists, headings, and blockquotes when appropriate.

You can try different note-taking strategies. One type is the Cornell Note-Taking System, which divides a page into four areas—one for the title and headers, one for notes from the teacher, one for cues, and one for summarising the ideas.


There are different ways of taking notes. Some students transcribe the lecture, choosing to write every word, while others capture only the most relevant ideas. No matter the style a student uses, note-taking is a valuable skill, useful even beyond school. 

Learn more techniques to help you become a better student when you join Young Growth Academy. We provide interactive, tailored high school tutoring in Penrith—with only two to eight students in class, you're sure to have all the help and mentoring you need. Book your risk-free trial today or contact us for enquiries!