5 Note Taking Methods – Let’s Compare Them.

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I know, I know. Note taking is soooo passive. But it’s still an essential part of studying. Notes allow us to have a copy of all the information we need to know – but in a way we understand, and much more simplified than it would be in a great big heavy textbook.

The only thing is – you should probably know how to effectively take notes, which is something they don’t teach you in school – at least, not very well.

5 Note Taking Methods - Lets compare them.

But first, lets discuss what you need in order to take notes.



Okay, so, there are a lot of options to explore here, so lets get straight to it.

Note Books

So, these are the typical things we think to use. They get handed out in schools for every subject, and we have to use them. They are practical, because we get to have all the information about a topic in the one place.

However, note books can be heavy if you have one for each subject, and you carry them around all day.


I’m sure you’ve seen all of those aesthetic study videos where the person in front of the camera is using his or her aesthetic I-pad to take notes. Really, this can be done on any tablet, but I personally think an I-pad’s better (Disclaimer – I do not own an I-pad. Do not take this as legitimate advice to buy one. Do your own research.)

Good Notes is often the app they are seen using, and they create really good notes using them.

Using an I-pad would be useful, as it means all of you’re notes (as long as they are backed up by I-cloud or something else) are not going to be lost or destroyed.


The ReMarkable is basically a tablet that only allow you to take notes. That’s literally all you can do on it. Honestly, for the price I don’t think it’s worth it, however I would like to try one. I think it would be really usefull, becuase there would be no distractions on it. If that is something you struggle with if you use an I-pad or a tablet, you should consider getting a remarkable


Real, in your hand paper, like a notebook, but you can move the paper around. I love a nice loose-leaf notebook, but I use my folder more often, as it can fit more in it.


I’ve used a lot of pens in my time, but the ones I have been using for almost 10 month are just basic Biro pens, which are the easiest to use, in my opinion.

However, I have also used very inky pens, such as gel pens, and the Pilot Friction pens.

Honestly, you need to figure out which pen you work best with – I’m still looking about for a perfect pen, so I probably shouldn’t tell you that you have to get a certain kind of pen.

One thing I have noticed is that the inky pens always look nicer on paper than a Biro pen. However, Biro pens tend to be better for taking really quick notes. So it’s your decision really, which pen do you prefer?

Or you could use a pencil – especially for diagrams or quick side notes.


If you want highlighters, I would recommend some plain pastel highlighters – neon highlighters are too much.

Highlighters aren’t necessary – you could just use different colours of pens.

Note Taking Methods

Now lets move on to the 5 note taking systems that will hopefully help you succeed in your studies.

The Top 5 Note Taking Techniques - What should you do?

Disclaimer – I have not tried all of these systems. Most of these systems were found on YouTube and TikTok. If you only use notes to revise, you won’t succeed in your studies. Please read my post about Active Learning.

The Cornell Note Taking Method

The Cornell Note Taking Method

The Cornell note taking system can be modified to match your needs.

The page is typically laid out with two columns (a small one for the Cue – and questions – and a larger one for the main notes) and a row below for the summary.

The Notes section is used for taking down what your teacher is telling you.

The Cue section is for writing down questions, either that you need answering or that will help you remember the content.

The Summary section is used to summarise what you have learnt in one to two sentences.

It’s important that we can summarise detailed notes into a big idea that is quite simple to understand, as it helps us learn.

Mind Maps for Note Taking

Mind Maps are a great way to lay out all the information on the page.

I personally like making mind maps as I think it is easier to find the information you need in a well-organised mind map instead of bullet points.

The Sentence Method

In this method, you start a new line for every thought, fact or sentence, numbering them as you go.

This is much more organised than a paragraph, and gets most (or at least more) of the information written down.

However, it is difficult to review these notes, unless you re-write them, batching the notes that relate to the same thing together. It can also be difficult to determine which points are more important.

The Table Method

This only works for certain things. If you have lots of defined categories of something that all relates to each other, this should work.

First things first, you draw a table with as many columns or rows as you should need. Then you fill them in with information.

This method could be very useful in Geography, when looking at Social, Environmental and Economic effects and deciding whether they are good or bad.

The Table Method is extremely useful when taking notes from a video that have to be split into categories.

The Outline Method

This method is just like taking basic notes, however, whenever you have a sub-point, you indent the point further to the right.

the outline Method for Note Taking

This is useful as it allows us to see which points are more important, and which points are going into more detail.


In this post, we have discussed which materials you should be using, along with 5 of the best note taking methods you can use, Of course, there are many more ways to take notes and I encourage you to do some more research into different methods before selecting one.


UTC – https://www.utc.edu/enrollment-management-and-student-affairs/center-for-academic-support-and-advisement/tips-for-academic-success/note-taking

BoxBlogs – https://blog.box.com/best-note-taking-methods

FayeFilms – https://www.youtube.com/@Fayefilms

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