Effective Note Taking Formats & Tips

High quality notes are like an investment. They take time and often are staples both in class and as part of the study process: as such, it’s all the more important to make sure that time is spent wisely! 

Though it may be tempting to skip over this important, albeit meticulous - and sometimes time-consuming task - note taking has far more benefits than drawbacks as a piece of the academic puzzle. 

Research suggests that top-notch note taking skills increase comprehension and recall, and students who regularly take notes tend to perform better than those who keep their notebooks shut.

Benefits of note taking 

If you want to make sure your bullet points aren’t bullet pointless, it’s worth thinking through your note taking strategy beyond just writing down as many words as possible. 

Top note taking formats that work

There’s no one method that will work for every subject, grade level, or student. Let’s kick things off with a few options right off the bat—here are five tried and true note taking formats, complete with pros and cons, to consider in your search for the right fit. 

Devised in the 1950s by a pedagogical expert, Cornell Notes incorporate both a note-taking system and academic habits into homework and in-class learning.

1. Cornell Notes

Using this method, students create a web of associations, supporting facts, and other information surrounding a central concept. 

2. Mind Map Notes

Straightforward and exactly what it sounds like, the outline method uses bullet points, roman numerals, numbers - whatever the note taker fancies - to identify a main topic, sub-topics, and supporting facts. 

3. The Outline Method

This system lends itself particularly well to taking notes on historical events, scientific processes, character development in a novel, and other topics that benefit from putting events and ideas in order.

4. The Flow Chart Method

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 Many kids (and parents) sometimes feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to squeeze in after-school activities while juggling school schedules and homework.

1. More time to explore hobbies