Sparknotes is a valuable resource for college students

Students using SparkNotes has its pros and cons.

Phil Vogel

During midterms this week, many students will seek the aid of study buddies, tutors and caffeine. Sparknotes provides a healthier and more accessible solution to any of the aforementioned tools, as well as the unenviable consequence of sleep deprivation.

While there is a value to reading all the assigned content directly from a textbook, the reality is that students are tested on their comprehension of the material and not the time they invest. If a student can accurately complete his assignment on time, and meets the requirements with the help of Sparknotes it can be of great benefit to him. Especially if the formerly mentioned student is balancing multiple classes or jobs. is a website started by Harvard Students to help fellow students study by providing summaries of assigned reading books. Since the website’s sale to Barnes and Nobles in 2001, Sparknotes has expanded to include books in almost every category, centered toward almost every demographic. In fact the Sparknotes database now offers 19 subjects, hundreds of authors and thousands of titles.

In most scenarios students will use Sparknotes as a complement to the book they are reading. Sparknotes is by no means a perfect solution to avoid arduous hours of navigating textbooks. Students are not absolved from working hard in their classes when using Sparknotes. However if used responsibly it can relieve a lot of stress, and be a fast, and fun way to study.

Some Saddleback students agree with this assessment. “I feel like Sparknotes is a good way to summarize. It totally provides detailed info,” said Mackenzie Gross, a 19-year-old business major.

Students also often save money on expensive textbooks by using the resources available on Sparknotes.

Cameron Jacob, an 18-year-old undecided major said, “Sparknotes is a useful way to get information I need. I wish that there were more books listen on their website. In high school I saved a lot of money,by not buying a book and just reading the summaries on Sparknotes.”

Some students see both the pros and cons of using Sparknotes.

“There already are summaries in every chapter of the textbook provided to you. I don’t see the problem in using an outside resource for the same information. It is also a way to save money on buying expensive books,” said David Trujillo, a 40-year-old fine arts major.

However, Trujillo does acknowledge some flaws in using Sparknotes as a primary resource. “You are not always getting all the info if you don’t actually read the book. That is why I will read the book and take copious notes. I make my own summaries,” Trujillo said.

Some students use other tools to gather information about the texts they are assigned.

Daniel Archer, an 18-year-old psychology major, has used Sparknotes, but has moved onto newer tools.

“I don’t really use Sparknotes anymore” Archer said. “Now I use Thugnotes! Thugnotes is a dude on Youtube talking to you about the book and summarizing everything you need to know.”

Sparknotes is complimentary to topics taught in the classroom and should be seen as a helpful resource.