The 7 Best Ways to Take Notes

The best way of taking notes depends on your situation and learning style. We’ve compiled a list of the seven best ways to take notes for you to choose from.

Taking notes is one of the tools you have at your disposal. Perhaps you were pretty good at taking notes in high school, but now you need to enhance them. Perhaps you are experiencing something similar to what I experienced in college, where you realize you have never learned how to take effective notes. Nowadays, There are multiple apps available that can help you in taking effective notes.

This is a whole new experience for you. Now that you are in college or university, you will need to upgrade some of the items you take with you to succeed. Here’s your guide to taking excellent, effective notes. 

Best Ways to Take Notes

This guide will introduce some popular note-taking techniques.

1. The Outline Note-Taking Method

Outline Method

The outline method is popular among note-takers. This method involves bullet points and a hierarchy. This involves creating a general overview of the material you will cover and dividing it into smaller, more manageable chunks. Each section of your outline should have a central point, with supporting details beneath it. As you take notes on each section, write down keywords and phrases to help you remember the most important points. You can also use symbols and abbreviations to save time.

It is important to review your notes regularly if you are using the outline method. You can recall the material easier during exams or other assignments if you keep the material fresh in your mind.


  • You can organize your thoughts and ideas logically with it.
  • It allows you to see the main points of your notes at a glance. 
  • It makes adding new information or making changes to your notes easy.


  •  It can be time-consuming to create an outline.
  •  Remembering all the information in your notes can be difficult if you do not review them regularly. 
  • You might miss important details if you don’t pay attention while taking notes.

2. The boxing note-taking method

The boxing note-taking method is great for organizing your thoughts and taking notes. This method involves drawing a box around the main idea or concept you want to remember. Then, within that box, you can jot down key points, details, or anything else that will help you recall the information later. You can use this method when you need to remember a lot of information at once or when you need to focus on a single concept.

To use the boxing method, start by drawing a box on paper. Then, write the main idea or concept you want to remember in the center of the box. 

After that, start jotting down key points, details, or anything else that will help you recall the information later. Review your notes once you have written everything down. Make sure you understand everything you have written down and try condensing the information as much as possible.


  • It can help you focus on one topic at a time.
  • It can make it easier to find specific information later.
  • Before writing, it can help you organize your thoughts.


  • It can be time-consuming to create the boxes.
  • You may need more paper than usual.
  • Finding the right way to divide the information can be challenging.

Despite its disadvantages, the boxing method can be a helpful tool for taking notes and organizing information if you are struggling to take effective notes or keep your thoughts organized, give it a try!

3. The Mind Map note-taking method

The mind map note-taking method is great for organizing your thoughts and ideas. It involves creating a visual representation of your notes, using symbols and colors to help you remember key points. 

This method is beneficial when learning new information or preparing for an exam. It can be a great way to take notes, especially if you are a visual learner.

 A mind map begins by drawing a large circle in the middle of the paper. Then, add smaller circles around the outside of the main circle, connecting them with lines. Write a keyword or phrase in each small circle, and use colors and symbols to represent different ideas. 

To represent important details, you can use different colors for each main idea and symbol. 


  • Using a mind map can help you see the big picture. When you take notes on a lecture or read a textbook, you may lose sight of the main idea when you get bogged down in details. Mind maps can help you step back and see the forest, not just the trees.
  • When you look at a mind map, you see all ideas related to a central topic at once. This can help your brain make connections and associations that you might not have made if you were looking at a list of bullet points. They can trigger your memory better than linear notes.
  • These maps can help you come up with new ideas. If you’re struggling with a problem or brainstorming a new project, mind mapping can help you find creative solutions.


  • When using a mind map to take notes, you are limited to the amount of space available on the page. This can be restrictive and make it challenging to include all the information you want to remember.
  • Creating a mind map can take time, especially if you include much information. It can be frustrating if you are trying to take notes quickly or capture ideas right away.
  • Mind maps can be challenging to review later because they often lack a linear structure. This can make it hard to find specific information or recall the main points from your notes.

4. The Cornell format Note-Taking Method

The Cornell format is a note-taking system that helps you to organize and structure your notes. It can be used to take notes in class, during lectures, or read books or articles. The system comprises three parts: cues, notes, and summaries.

One column contains the main ideas, one contains supporting details, and one column for questions or comments. The cue column is used to write down key ideas, questions, or keywords you want to remember. The note column is used for taking notes on cue topics. And the summary column is used to write a summary of the notes.


  • If you need to find something later, you can find it easily without reading your notes.
  • Your outline doesn’t get cluttered with irrelevant information.
  •  It lets you focus on the most important things (in meetings or lectures).


  • This requires the creation or purchase of Cornell-style pages
  • Organizing large quantities of Cornell notes can be challenging
  • Notes are difficult to reduce in size

5. The “Flow Notes” Note-Taking Method

Flow Notes is a note-taking technique that allows you to quickly and easily take down large amounts of information without feeling overwhelmed. It is an intuitive, fast, and organized note-taking method that makes it easy for you to learn and use the best possible note-taking methods for your personal needs.

Flow Notes will help you break free from overly complicated systems so that you can focus on what’s most important for you. For those who dislike rules, it is a great option.

This method effectively requires you to focus on writing down key points and ideas rather than trying to capture everything verbatim. As a result, you will remain engaged and motivated while ensuring you don’t miss any crucial details.


  • You can use it even if you don’t have any experience. 
  • It’s also customizable, so if certain things work better for you than others, they can also be added to your system.
  • Flow Notes will help students gain confidence in their ability to take good quality notes while studying or doing research projects online or offline.


  • Flow notes can be challenging to read and follow, especially for those unfamiliar with the system.
  •  Difficult to find specific information later on.
  • These notes can be time-consuming to create, particularly if they are detailed.

6. The Chart Format Note-Taking Method

Chart format is the most versatile of all note-taking styles. You can use it to organize your thoughts, summarize information, compare different ideas visually, create a visual aid for your presentation or make a timeline or mind map.

A charting note follows the Cornell method and divides a sheet into three columns. It helps you connect relationships and facts between topics.


  •  It’s easy to read and understand charts. Charts are easy on the eyes because they present data graphically in an organized manner. They provide an overview of important concepts at a glance and help you quickly see how things fit together.
  •  Charts are handy when presenting complex information in a straightforward way that helps others understand it better than words alone.


  • It is often difficult to organize new information in charts.
  • Chart creation requires additional time.

7. The Bullet Journal Note-Taking Method

In this method, you simply note everything that is said to the best of your ability. It is a simple method and a lesser version of flow notes. It may be the best method for you if you are an aesthetic person, enjoy doodles, or are a visual learner.

You can combine different aspects of other note-taking styles with your bullet journal by writing on a blank page to create a beautiful representation of your thought process.


  • Flexible enough to adapt to almost any requirement.
  • It is relatively simple to learn and use and can be easily customized to fit an individual’s needs. 
  • It can improve focus, concentration, and productivity.


  • Taking notes quickly can be challenging. 
  • Keeping your journal organized and attractive is the goal of bullet journaling, which can be difficult when you are scribbling information down as quickly as possible.


Each method has advantages and disadvantages depending on your learning needs and personal preferences. Furthermore, it is important to realize that each individual learns and studies differently. With this in mind, decide which method complements the way.

It is important to understand that note-taking is a skill. Everyone’s brain works differently, so what works for me may not work for you. Find out what works for you by taking notes often and experimenting.

After reading this article, you should understand what notes are and how to take them. You can choose the best way to take notes from the provided list that meets your needs and preferences. Hopefully, these tips will help you take notes more effectively.