5 Best Note Taking Methods – The Ultimate Guide

Generally, we prepare notes for every subject we study and most of our time in the process of studying goes into note taking either from class or textbooks. Did we ever pay attention to it? No way.

Just like you, I was going on the same cloudy path until my Final year where one of my friends sent me a link about Cornell Method of Note Taking (Later discussed).

It kindled a curiosity in my mind, Are there any more ways to take notes by which I can save my time?

This is where the journey started. I spent months reading and watching videos about different methods and their pros and cons.

Putting some of them into daily practice, I spent the time to mold them according to my basic needs and time constraints.

What are those methods?

  • The Outline Method
  • The Cornell Method
  • The Mind Map Method
  • The Writing on the Slides Method
  • The Flow Method

The outline method:

Simply speaking in this method we prepare a naturally organized outline of the whole chapter before we start it forming kind of Skeleton of textbook chapters, which makes it excellent for test preps.

It basically emphasis on the organization of the chapter in a systematic manner, so that we can get a clear outline what we have to read and what comprises of what.

This uses bullet points and sub-bullet. I’ll recommend using your laptop or Evernote for this because it will help you add or delete bullet point in between and organize them on your preferences.

Outline Method - 5 best note taking methods

The Cornell method:

This method was devised by Walter Puck in 1950s who is a professor in Cornell University and advocates its use in his best-selling book “How to study in college”. Although, I never bought his book because it’s too expensive for Indian Market.

So what this method provides is really unique and thought-provoking. You need to divide your page into three sections:

  • Main sectionwhere you write your all notes.
  • Cue Section (Verticle column) – where you jot down titles, past year question and key points to remember.
  • Summary Section (Horizontal column at the end of page).

While practicing it, I noticed that the summary column is mostly blank in my notes because of time constraints. Therefore, I removed it on later stages – you can also do the same.

I found the Cue section most beneficial as it provides more comprehensive information about the content of notes and facilitates you with past year questions.

A visual representation is as follows:Cornell Method - 5 best note taking methods

The Mindmap method:

I think most of us know about this method, but I considered it injustice If I didn’t include it in this article.

Although, this is the best method out there to jot down your ideas and thoughts to help you brainstorm more effectively.

But it proves to be less effective for class notes.

However, I discovered that this could be easily used for making a one-page concise overview of the whole chapter, at starting the of each chapter.

Read more about it here: Read here

Mind Maps - 5 best note taking methods

The writing on slides method:

I noticed that in higher studies, the professors themselves provides us with concise summaries of all the modules ( God Bless them!!!).

In such cases, this method proves to be the best. In this method, you will be directly writing into the margins of your textbooks or use post-it notes for additions and examples given during the lecture.

A visual representation of the same is here:

Slides - 5 best note taking methods

 

The flow method:

The last method that comes is the Flow method by Scott Young. Scott Young did something extraordinary by completing his entire syllabus of college in the first year itself.

Scott Young did something extraordinary by completing his entire syllabus of college in the first year itself.

In this method, we don’t stick to a specific design or model.

What we do is to explore our own styles with the help of diagrams, mind maps, outlines, arrows, and boxes etc.

We focus upon is not the textbook material, it is the way we understood it and representing it in own words and pictures.

To know more about flow method, recommended reading: Read here

 

For those, who are interested in which of the above method I use. Actually, I don’t stick to anyone of the methods for a long time. Personally, I keep swapping between them.

Presently, I’m following the Flow method and Cornell for my study notes.

In case you have any question, please comment down below, I would love to answer all your questions.

Please share this post with your study buddies and help them study better and achieve better results. If you want to get updates when I release more great content like this, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter below! (Technology you know)

 

Author: Prajjwal Kaushik

Being a CA aspirant, I had to deal with a lot of study pressure. I studied and learned about various study techniques adopted by the students worldwide to deal with my own study burden. I write about study hacks and tips to help you build a remarkable school/ college experience.

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