Take Notes | What’s the best way to do it?

September 26, 2019

Learning how to take notes is one of the most effective study smart techniques for students in the classroom. If you take notes effectively, then you are more likely to gain a better understanding of study materials and learn faster. Moreover, you can review your notes to remember important concepts from text books and prepare well for the exam.

In another instance, beyond the classroom, if you look at the habits of some of the most successful people, they openly talk about the importance of taking notes. From hip hop legend Eminem to billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson reveals that they take notes like an exceptional student to jot down ideas in their daily life. That’s why learning how to take notes can have a bigger impact in your academics as well as other areas of your life. 

There are several note taking systems for students that enable you to take notes efficiently and effectively. Moreover, learning different note taking methods is crucial to become an effective learner because it helps you make meaningful connections between various topics and improve your learning ability. Here are various practices to take notes for students.

The Cornell Method

Developed by Professor Walter Pauk of Cornell University, this note taking method helps you organize ideas in a better way and review them thoroughly during exam. To take notes using  the Cornell Method, you can divide the page into three sections: notes, cues and summary.

Cornell method

Image source: goodnotes

In the notes section, you include all the main points from the lecture in your classroom.

The cues section is where you write down main points, questions, vocabulary and important points to remember during or after class lecture. You can use this section to note down cues related to your study materials so that the whole reviewing process will become easier during exam preparation.

The bottom includes summary section where you can summarize the entire lecture in your own words.

The Cornell system has proven effective for exam preparation as it encourages students to include main points, reflect on them and understand the essence(summary) of the study materials.

The Outline method

The outline method is one of the simplest and easiest methods to take notes. When taking notes using outline method, you can  use bullet points, numbered list or arrows to organize main ideas from your study material. Beneath every main topic, you can write subheading and add supporting facts about each topic. This way, you write major points on the left, followed by each sub points on the slightly right position.


outline method

This method is highly useful to review study materials quickly when you are preparing for exams. However, this method is not effective for subjects like chemistry or mathematics where you need to write formulas and graphs.

The Mind Map

This mind map method is a visual approach of note taking which is very useful to connect various ideas and concepts related to a particular topic.

The main topic is clearly visible in the center of a page. Then, you connect the main topic with subtopics or keywords, that looks like branch coming out of tree. You can use lines, symbols, words, color and images when you are showing relationships between main topic and related ideas. 


Mind map method


Image source: Whink App

This note taking method is great for brainstorming ideas that helps to harness your creativity in so many ways. For instance, generating creative ideas for blog posts, essays, research work, and many more. You can add dates, formulas and related supporting facts onto each branch to show the connection with the subtopics. In addition, they are great for studying and memorizing key information quickly during examination.

Flow based method

The Flow based method is appropriate for students who hate following a particular rule. In other words, this is less hierarchical method compared to mind mapping where you basically write down major ideas of the lecture and emphasize the important details. 

The flow based method  encourage you to learn more when listening to lectures. Instead of transcribing information from lecture in exactly the same way, this note taking method is a creative process where you can include your own ideas, examples and connections. Basically, you connect those ideas with related concepts or any other concepts you have learned before.

If you are taking notes following flow based method, it’s better to write them with explanation so that you will have good notes for your exam preparation. However, you can try out flow based note taking in subjects that are easier to understand in class, short online courses or in meeting.

Charting method

The charting method of note taking is surely appropriate for subjects where you need to aid memorization. For instance, date, event, similarities, differences, advantages, disadvantages and many more. This way, it’s easier to memorize a lot of information in a single time as you include only relevant data and avoid irrelevant writing.

This method must have an outline of the heading where you arrange them in row and column. The heading can be divided into various categories. Then, you can insert information ( words, phrases, main ideas) into each column. Here is an example of charting method:

charting method

There are several note taking methods that you can apply to take notes based on your preference learning style. You need to find which method suits best for you and execute on them. At Samriddhi School, we emphasize holistic development of our students by educating them practical learning experience beyond the classroom. We, one of the best schools in Kathmandu, are committed to inspire and motivate students to achieve the highest standards of intellectual development as well as personal growth, through a stimulating and comprehensive STEAM educational programme. 

For more information about our school in Kathmandu, please visit our website or Contact us 014390590/ 4383777.

3 ways to develop critical thinking skills for studentsHow to improve your math skills?