Note-taking is one of the most effective studying methods for students. Many students only develop the habit of note-taking in college or university and only uses it during lectures. What they don’t know is that note-taking can be applied outside of a lecture or class. For example, while studying and preparing for an exam on your own, you can apply these note-taking methods to help you understand and remember information better. Hence, parents are encouraged to teach your child note-taking methods even from young age instead of cramming the whole book. Taking notes the right way isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s not just about jotting down everything but instead, to summarize the core points as precisely as possible in your own words. Let’s explore the available note-taking methods which are most commonly adopted.


1) The Outline Method

One of the most straightforward note-taking methods, the Outline method helps you organize your notes in a structured form. As the name suggests, you only outline the important facts by using bullet points to represent different topics and their subtopics. Having the main topics on the far left of your page, you must use indents to add related subtopic below it. I personally love using this method as it is one of the easiest yet effective method, especially in fast-paced lectures or seminars.


Note taking methodSource: Pinterest


2) The Cornell Method

The Cornell method is deemed the most effective note-taking technique for exam preparation. While the Outline Method is straightforward, the Cornell Method requires students to analyse and reflect on the notes in more in-depth before writing them down. What makes Cornell method unique is that the page is divided into 3 or 4 sections, with two column in the center (30% width for the left column while remaining 70% for the right column) and a summary at the bottom of the page.

The right column on the page is for notes, jotting down all the main points and formulas in bullet points (similarly like the Outline Method). Whereas on the left side will be the cues column whereby students will need to analyse from the notes taken and write down the keywords, questions connecting the points, or comments. At the end, students must then take some time to summarize the topic or chapter in the bottom section.

Students may take slightly longer time using the Cornell method but they are able to remember and digest the information better and more effectively, which eventually achieve them better grades in their exam. 


Note taking methodSource: Pinterest


3) The Boxing Method

Boxing Method is not widely used, but gaining popularity over the years. This method mainly existed from the very popular ‘time box theory’ for time management which was commonly used in workforce when planner and diary were still widely used (before smartphones were invented). People found it useful as a note-taking technique, hence implementing it by grouping related points together in a box. There could be an unlimited amount of dedicated boxes in a page for every topic in a single page and you can arrange them to your liking. The Boxing method is a more digital note-taking friendly method whereby you can rearrange and reassign your notes afterwards.


Note taking method
Source: Goodnotes



4) The Mapping Method

The mapping method have been the most popular method used as a teaching tool in schools. This method is interesting, simple and yet effective. In this method, students and teacher organize their notes by dividing them into branches and establishing relationship between topics. Your main topic will usually be at the top or in the center of the map, while your subtopics are branched out from the main topic. To make mapping more interesting, you can use highlighters, colorful pens or even drawing to differentiate your points. Students are more interested to study with this note-taking method as it is visually appealing and creativity can be put into good use.


note taking


5) Charting Method

When you have a lot of information in the form of statistics and facts, charting method is the preferable method for you. In this method, you have several columns and rows like a spreadsheet or table. Each column will represent a unique category which makes the rows easily comparable and understandable. If you have read most of our articles, you will see our editors using the charting method more than often to summarize the article in a simpler way for your easy understanding. In which, in this case, it is also a great example to summarize our article using this method.


note taking


It is crucial for your child to learn note-taking methods to ease their studying life while improving their studies and results. You will see your child understanding their studies better, speed up their revision and be more organized in every other aspects of their life.  Start from their early age and you will thank us for that piece of advice! 🙂

Click here to read on “Secrets to Help Your Child Study Better”.