Taking Effective Notes in Textbooks


Hi there,


Drew here from SwitchNote.  Today, I’m going give some techniques for writing effective notes in textbooks.

As a student, I see many students taking notes in textbooks while reading or studying from them.  But, I believe 80% of them are doing so in an ineffective manner.  Simply reading paragraph to paragraph isn’t always the best way to take-in the material.  Here are some helpful hints on how to take effective notes in text books:

1. Select Highlighting- Make sure you don’t go crazy highlighting.  It should only include key points that you can quickly go back and refer to.

2. Read your notes out loud – This will help with memorization.

3.  Spend time looking at diagrams – Often times the charts/diagrams in a textbook help summarize the text in a visual way, so studying those can be of great assistance!

4. Circle, star, or highlight key concepts using different colors to help sort out different concepts and topics.

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

Update on SwitchNote


Drew here from SwitchNote.

We had a very successful alpha launch at Loyola University!  Thanks to the hundreds of people who signed up and contributed content.  Your feedback is invaluable!  Feel free to reach out to me directly any time to let me know what you think of the platform: drew@switchnote.com.

Next up are more schools!  During the next two weeks we plan on really pushing into new schools during finals week.  Obviously, we know that SwitchNote can be very helpful during this time for college students so we really want to roll out into more schools and help relieve a little pain :).  To do this we are hiring to Marketing Executive’s to help spread the word on different campuses across the country.  We currently have 7 great students who are working hard to grow the product.  We offer different rewards for reaching milestones.  Learn more here: http://www.switchnote.com/marketing/

We hope to learn as much as possible in the next few weeks.  We will then evaluate the feedback we receive and make the necessary adjustments over the summer.  Then, we will have a massive launch in the fall!

It’s very exciting times and we are working as hard as we can to help solve this problem across the country.

Have a great end of the year!

Power of Collaboration as a Student



I have learned that a very important aspect of college is collaboration between your peers, and more specifically your classmates. Having someone that you can depend on in each of your classes will make your class more efficient, and ultimately make you a more successful student.

In the classes that I have known somebody, I have gotten so much more out of it. Being able to openly discuss yesterday’s macroeconomic lecture with someone is invaluable. It usually ends with a deeper understanding of the topic, and more excitement for the subject. In forming this relationship with your classmate you also relieve stress for you and your friend. If you have to miss a class, having someone you can depend on to take good notes for you is very helpful. When it is time to write a paper, it would be worthwhile to set up a time to meet and discuss potential thesis’s or paper topics.  Study groups during exam time can prove to be even more beneficial.  I find that having someone to talk through concepts makes studying more efficient and even more enjoyable.

SwitchNote will put this interaction online. We hope that SwitchNote will make it possible for everyone to have a “buddy” in every class. Our goal is that students will have multiple people that they can rely on.

Add/Drop Classes


In high school, I was locked into a course schedule for the entire year. Didn’t like the course? Tough. Didn’t get along with the teacher? Too bad. College students can add and drop classes weeks into the term. I am going to share some thoughts on add/drop week, and provide some useful tips on constructing your class schedule.

Do your research before choosing classes. My registration opened up in early November for the spring semester. I knew what classes I wanted to take, and when I wanted to take them BEFORE registration day. In constructing my schedule I had a lot to consider (as do all college students) for example: my school’s core curriculum, my major requirements, times, the professor, other commitments, etc.. I learned that the earlier that I searched for courses the more flexibility I had in my schedule, and ultimately a more successful semester.

Do not bank on the add/drop period. It might be tempting to simply pick five classes in November with the intention of just “figuring” it out during the Add/Drop period (first week of classes). This can be very dangerous. Most classes are filled during the first week of the semester. If you are looking to pick up a class during add/drop, your choices are limited. And the classes that are still open are probably still open for a reason (inconvenient class time, demanding professor). It is unlikely that you will be able to design your “dream” schedule during add/drop week. Plan early, and register as soon as you can.

However, if on the first day of EN 101 your professor seems to be to demanding or your club lacrosse team practices at the same time and you need to make a change, Add/Drop is your answer.  At most schools the Add/Drop process is done completely online.  Here at Loyola, we use WebAdvisor.  It is a very straightforward platform.  I can simply log in and search through open classes, and make the change.  But, during Add/Drop week students are constantly shuffling around their schedules so it is important to check online frequently for openings if you are looking at a specific class.  Spots can open and close by the minute.

Good Luck and have a great spring ’14!