top of page
  • Marielle Adler

How to Make Notes on a Book for Your Exam/Test


During my first experience of 'reading a book in school,' I was initially unsure about the best approach to take. It took some time for me to get into the flow of making notes effectively and managing my stress. However, once I mastered it, I found it incredibly helpful. In this article, I'll share some tips on how to make notes on a book to prepare for your upcoming exam.

Highlighting and Underlining

Highlighting or underlining key quotes that showcase the main themes of your book can be extremely beneficial. This technique allows you to quickly locate evidence within the book during your exam, saving you from aimless searching. It also aids in understanding the book's content and supports more creative and interpretive thinking. Remember to color-coordinate or distinguish between different topics to keep your highlighting and underlining organized. However, be cautious not to overdo it; focus on the most relevant quotes.

Making Notes

As I mentioned earlier, adding small side notes alongside your highlighted or underlined sections can be quite helpful. Additionally, making deeper, more comprehensive notes is essential. These notes should be concise, preferably in bullet points, to facilitate easy scanning during the exam. Alongside in-book notes, maintain a separate page for important assumptions about the book or class notes. Your own notes, not just copied ones, will significantly aid in revision.

Summarizing Chapters

Summarizing each chapter after reading it is a great way to contextualize events. You don't necessarily need to write these summaries; explaining them to a family member or friend can be just as effective. Summaries help you understand the book's happenings, keep track of events, interpret these events within context, and review the main plot points efficiently before the exam.

Keeping Up with Classwork

From personal experience, I strongly advise keeping pace with the class. Falling behind by a couple of chapters can be detrimental. When the exam approaches, you might find yourself scrambling to catch up through summaries or online videos. However, these methods often result in incomplete understanding and additional stress. I recommend using a planner to organize your reading schedule, ensuring you stay on track with the required chapters. If you do fall behind, make a concerted effort to catch up as soon as possible. Accumulating unread pages and chapters is not beneficial.


These are a few strategies that helped me prepare for exams and tests based on books. It's important to remember that each student learns differently, so another method might work just as well for you.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page