How to make good “summary notes”

How to make good summary notes


So if you read my other posts you know that I emphasize that there are no shortcuts or secrets to making good grades, you have to simply become an “A worthy student”. A student who practices good habits and utilizes good work ethic. Well if I ever really had a secret that could have a huge impact on your grades it’s summary notes. So what in the world are these summary notes I’m talking about?

Quite simply, summary notes are your own super condensed notes that only focus on what matters. The main point of summary notes is to have a convenient easy to access file that contains all your most relevant and important notes for a class. Hence the name “Summary” notes. You want to summarize everything that matters to you. With these notes, you cut out all the fat and fluff from your class notes and power-points, and you are left with a sort of super note that has only the things that matters.


Why are summary notes awesome?


– Great for studying!
– Personalized just for you
– Can use as a resource for the rest of your life
– Almost guarantees that you will learn be ready for any test and especially the final



Great for studying: It goes without saying that having a note which is highly focused on only the things you will be tested on and you care about is going to be a really useful resource to have. Summary notes are awesome for studying because it makes studying much quicker! You don’t have to go through a bunch of notes to find the material you need to really be focusing on. That was the whole point of making them! Now that you have yourself some awesome summary notes, its super easy and fast to study up on whats going to be on your tests!


Personalized for you: These notes are going to personalized just for you, since YOU are making them! You get to decide which things go into your summary notes and even how you format it. This can be very helpful, especially if you are used to trying to study from dull and boring textbooks. It will be a breath of fresh air to not have to spend hours trying to decipher what a textbook is really trying to tell you. Instead, you will instantly understand what is being said. And that can make studying a lot more fun too!


Can use as a resource for the rest of your life: This is honestly something that makes them so appealing to me. Once you create your summary notes for a class, you will have them for the rest of your life. And you can reference back to them whenever you forgot something from that class. It makes for a great resource in the future! Its so convenient to have a single file that contains what you are looking for, instead of having to go through tons of old powerpoints, your old textbook, youtube videos, etc. Also if you want to help a friend out sending them your old summary notes will be much appreciated!


You are going to do better on your tests and final: That is a promise. If you make summary notes, I guarantee you will definitely do better on your tests and final. One of the awesome parts about making summary notes is that it helps you retain the information better! The more times you process the same information the better you remember it. By typing and focusing on trying to create good summary notes, you are actually helping yourself learn and remember it better! The very process of creating them will help you learn it. And of course once you have finished it, you will have a great resource for future studying! This is especially true for your final. I almost never have a hard time studying for my final, because I have created summary notes. They instantly tell me everything thats going to be on the final and everything I need to know for it. If you didn’t make the notes, you may be spending hours trying to go back through your powerpoints and trying to do it the hard way. Do yourself a favor just make yourself some summary notes at the beginning of the semester and save yourself a lot of trouble!

Okay you can clearly see that summary notes are awesome! And they will come in handy. They really are one of my secrets to making good grades and maintaining a high GPA.



So how do you make some good summary notes?

I’m going to share some tips and advice on making good ones.


1. Organize. This is my first main tip to making good summary notes. This is for a few reasons; first it helps you find things easier for when you are using the notes for studying. Second, this helps you understand how all the concepts are related and where they fit together. Third, this just makes the overall studying experience better. The best way to organize your summary notes is by creating headers for the topic (Ex. Electricity) and then creating sub headers within that header (Ex. Electricity formulas). Don’t worry I will have an example at the end. Just try and organize everything as best as you can. It will help!


2. Copy important info from your class notes and powerpoints. This is the fastest and easiest way to create your summary notes. Go through your powerpoints/class notes and just extract all of the important information from it. Important information typically are definitions, formulas, concepts and anything your teacher said you should know. Just copy them into your summary notes, and make sure to organize them. Also when copying your notes, you can change the wording around so it makes more sense to you. This is the time to make these notes highly personalized. Make sure it makes sense! If in the powerpoints or notes it explains a concept in a long and confusing way, try and simplify it down. Remember, try your best to summarize the important concepts!


3. Keep up with your class. You don’t want to start making summary notes near the end of the semester. You want to make your notes in the same pace with your class. This really is important, because this will help you to not fall behind in class. But also if you don’t keep up with your class, you won’t have your summary notes there for when you need to study for your tests or final! The easiest way to keep up with your class is by adding to it each time your teacher uploads a new powerpoint or right after class. Just make sure to stay on top of your summary notes, otherwise they can’t help you!


4. Add in your own extra notes. Now that your summary notes are organized and contain the important information from your class notes and power-points, you can start adding in a bit of your own flair. This is to make them even more personalized and useful for you. I go over this in my article about how to take notes the right way so make sure to check that out. But essentially you  want to add in additional notes that help you understand hard topics. Like little annotations that explain things or give tips on understanding something. Let’s say I’m talking about Gauss’s law from Physics class. There are a few different forms of the equation. This would be a time to add a little annotation note that explains when to use each. So for example, next to the equation that uses the integral in it. I would put a small bullet point, saying :” – Use this formula when E is changing in space”. And then maybe under the formula which doesn’t use the integral a bullet point saying, “Use this formula when E and A are both constants”.  Its these notes which are really appreciated when studying!




Quantitative chemistry summary notes example

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 7.55.26 PM


Here are some examples of how I organize the summary notes. Where I make headers, sub-headers, and bold important terms.

genetics biology summary notes


Here I show how I personalize notes to make them even more useful.

biology chemistry physics summary notes


Alright, I hope that helped! Summary notes are a great tool for studying and making sure you have learned your material. If you have any questions please feel free to comment. I will be posting all of my summary notes on here for you guys in the near future! Make sure to join the site to get access to them when I post it!


Was this article helpful? What kind of articles you want to see? (For more polls, click here)

[yop_poll id=”12″ tr_id=”Summary notes”” show_results=”-1″]

[yop_poll id=”13″ tr_id=””” show_results=”-1″]

More helpful premed resources:
Get our free ebook , “The Pre-Med Beginner’s Guide”, which summarizes what every premed must know!
Also get free access to our comprehensive lists of medical school rankings! Click here to download
Good luck on your journey to medical school! Premed Community is here to make that a reality!


Good day pre-med students! I'm Wil, the founder of this website and part of the class of 2022 at the Medical College of Georgia. I remember the difficulty of getting into medical school and want to help as many pre-medical students as I can! Feel free to follow my Instagram and ask me questions! Instagram: @medstudentwil

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Do you want to know how to get
Better grades, higher MCAT score, a more professional application

Getting into medical school is tough, we are here to help you out. Sign up for our newsletter to get FREE pre-medical advice, E-books, and special deals on things like MCAT books. If you are serious about becoming a doctor, do everything you can to become the best applicant you can. Sign up for our newsletter!

Sign up now for the best pre-medical advice
Become a FREE member of our website!
Members have special access to tons of features that non-members don't have. Such as being able to post into our pre-med forums, commenting on articles, accessing our database of free pre-med guides.