Free Cliff Notes Online

A book of Shakespeare's Plays
Read essays on Shakespeare's works at CliffsNotes.

When it comes time to complete a class reading assignment, free Cliff Notes online will provide a boost for any student. Whether you need to write your own essay or take an exam, CliffsNotes are a student's dream come true.

The Original Literature Study Guides

CliffsNotes are the original literature study guides. The company was started by Clifton Hillegass in 1958, giving the series its name. They can be recognized in bookstores by their black and yellow striped covers. Bound together like a pamphlet, these booklets have provided help for untold numbers of students over the decades. They instruct many students on the themes, characters, and plots in popular books.

Finding Cliff Notes

To find the CliffsNotes you need, the official CliffsNotes website will provide you with an abundance of information.

How to Use CliffsNotes

It is not hard to see why CliffsNotes make completing a reading assignment easy and convenient. Here is how the website can be a big source of help for you. From the extensive alphabetical listing of popular books, find the one you want. For example, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar is available in the literature section. Once you click on its link, you can read the following:

  • A time line of the author's life with detailed events
  • An introduction to The Bell Jar
  • A summary of the book
  • Lengthy summaries of every chapter
  • Character descriptions and analysis
  • Essays about the book and topics related to the story

Taking Quizzes

Take a multiple choice quiz online to increase your knowledge about any book. Once you submit your answers, you immediately receive your score. Should you get any incorrect, the correct answers are given.

Other Categories

Hands typing a report online
Learn in the comfort of your home from your computer.

In addition to reading about the works of literature, there are other resources at CliffsNotes. Clearly focused with the high school student in mind, help with the following topics is just a click away:

  • Writing: Get free help with those pesky grammatical problems.
  • Foreign languages: Learn verbs and nouns in French and Spanish.
  • Math: Get assistance in algebra, geometry, and more advanced subjects.
  • Sciences: Find help for biochemistry, physics, and chemistry students.
  • More subjects: Articles to help you with economics, U.S. history and U.S. government are in large supply here.
  • Test prep: Receive online guidance on test taking to be better prepared for the SAT, GRE and Advanced Placement exams.
  • Colleges: Get some coaching on preparing to apply to the college of your choice. There are even links for finding financial aid, and guidance on how to drop and add classes once in college.
  • Shop: Should you need to purchase a paper copy or downloadable PDF of any of the CliffsNotes, you can buy these online with your credit card. Teens should ask a parent for permission before making any online purchase.


The argument against free Cliff Notes online is that children will get all of their information about a book from the book's summary page, and not bother to read the actual piece of literature. A student could go to the Internet to find all she needs to know about Shakespeare's Hamlet, gathering insight into what others have written, and never actually spend time reading the text of the play. Educators would prefer that students first read from the text, and use the online resource only to enhance their understanding of the book.

Other Online Resources

In addition to this popular source, Spark Notes are also available free online. These study guides will assist you with test preparation, as well as summarize a book you are assigned to read for class. You can also get digital Spark Notes for your iPod.

Take Some Time

Even if you have no interest in reading up on The Catcher and the Rye, taking a tour of the CliffsNotes website is well worth the trip. The site is filled with valuable tips on a variety of academic and career-related topics. The next time you have some free time, hop on over to the website for some good, free information.

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
Free Cliff Notes Online