3 Most Effective Note Taking Methods

Notetaking is an essential part of the learning process. It helps students understand, remember, and retain material better. Notetaking isn’t just good for school, it’s also a very valuable skill that we will use later in life. Studies have shown that taking notes during class and later revising them has a positive effect on student learning. Furthermore, the majority of students in the study stated that they recalled more material if they took notes about it.

Although notetaking is very important, not everyone is comfortable with the same notetaking technique. Evidently, there are a variety of ways to take notes, but in this article, I will list 3 notetaking methods that are the most effective from my point of view.




The Outline Method

This is probably the easiest method and anyone can use it. With the outline method, you pick around 5 key points from the material. Then, under those main points you write sub-points which are more in-depth. If you want your information to be organized and clear, use this method.

Here’s an example:



Remember, don’t write full sentences, it’s a waste of time!



The Cornell Method

This method was developed by Cornell University in the 1950s and is the most common notetaking method today. This method focuses mainly on organizing information. The page is divided into 3 parts:

The “cue”, a narrow column at the left

A wide column for the actual notes

A short summary at the bottom

In the cue section, you write the key words and ideas from the material. This will later help you recall the larger ideas and topics. In the note section, you expand your key words and explain them in detail. In the summary section, you write 1 or 2 sentences summarizing the material very clearly.

Here’s an example:





Mind Mapping Method

The final method is most effective when dealing with abstract and complex concepts. It can be used with subjects like philosophy and history. This method will be most efficient for visual learners who struggle with retaining information via written notes. First, you start with the big, general concept in the middle of the page and draw a bubble around it. Then, you begin branching off and adding sub-concepts.

Here’s an example:



Now that you’ve seen 3 different great methods for taking notes, it’s up to you to decide which one best suits you!


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