How to Take More Effective Notes

September 14, 2022

By: The Bublup Team

"To take more effective notes, you’ll need a strategy."

How to Take More Effective Notes

By: The Bublup Team

Whether sitting in a classroom lecture or attending a Zoom meeting, taking effective, practical notes can be challenging. If you’re writing too much, you can get lost in the live discussion. If you’re writing too little, on the other hand, you’ll likely find it difficult to recall important points. To take more effective notes, you’ll need a strategy. In this article, we’ll review a couple of methods that set you on the right path toward taking notes that improve your productivity and organization. 

If you’re looking for an app that assists with note-taking and organization, Bublup might be a perfect fit for you. Taking notes online has never been so simple and convenient. Create checklists, add images to your documents, bookmark content, and upload just about anything with the touch of a button. If you’re working on a team, you can also take advantage of the app’s handy Group Folders with built-in commenting features.

Why Improving Your Note-Taking Strategy Matters

Improving the quality of your notes carries many benefits–both before and after your class. If you’re a student, your notes are one of your most (if not the most) valuable study tools for quizzes and exams. They’re an excellent way to follow up on what you need to work on next and can help you retain information. Good note-taking can also help you keep what’s important to remember at the front of your mind while you drop superfluous details. 

1. Choose a Layout and Stick to It

One thing that many successful students have in common is a set note-taking method. Choosing a specific layout or pattern for your notes ensures that all the key concepts, discussion points, and comments are easy to access and study, even when the lectures the notes cover occurred several weeks or months ago. 

Here are a few of the most common layout strategies to try: 

Outlines: Outline-style notes make it easy to break down concepts and details with simple topic and subtopic headers. These notes make it easy to focus while you are writing and can help reduce review and study time. However, these notes aren’t the greatest for subjects such as math and science because they are less visual and don’t have much room for formulas or drawings. 

Cornell: Cornell notes are a classical, two-column approach to note-taking that never goes out of style. On the left side of the page, you’ll keep all the keywords, questions, and concepts in a list. The notes that apply to each of these ideas are stored on the right side of the page in the second column. You can also keep summaries or objectives associated with the topic in their section at the bottom of the page. The tried and true Cornell method helps students efficiently memorize key concepts.

Word Cloud: Word cloud, or mind-mapping, is the most visual form of note-taking. It’s easy to keep everything connected in terms of concepts, and adding formulas, drawings, or graphs is also simple. The downside to this layout is that it can quickly become disorganized, particularly if you’re rushing to keep up with the lecture or meeting.

2. Underline Keywords, Not Sentences

If you’re overdoing the underlining or highlighting in your notes, you’re making it more difficult for your future self to differentiate essential concepts from supplementary details. To make sure you can quickly review the most important details before a test or quiz, consider underlining or highlighting the keywords rather than entire sentences. Simply put, this breaks everything down into more manageable pieces. 

3. Use Colors to Boost Organization

Color-coding might seem like an over-the-top method of keeping your notes organized, but it also makes it easier to visualize important information. You can quickly group topics and review your notes one subject at a time. Make sure you stick with a constant color pattern or create a legend, so everything is easy to decode for future use. Just as with underlining and highlighting, it’s a good idea to color code only the overarching topics and headers. In short- don’t overdo it.

4. Annotate your Text

Taking notes isn’t just for lectures. You should also take notes and document what you’re learning when you read. Don’t be afraid to underline or highlight important passages, key dates or details, and phrases you don’t know. You can write brief comments in the margins, mix up the colors, and write summaries off to the side to increase reading comprehension and decrease the amount of time it takes to review everything at the end of the semester. Don’t worry about damaging the textbook. After all, you’re probably only going to need it for one class.

5. Don’t Write Too Much

If you’re attempting to write down everything, you’re likely to miss important information. Your notes don’t necessarily have to include everything that was covered in the lecture or meeting. Instead, they should break down the information into key points. If you find that you’re struggling to keep up with everything the professor is talking about, stick with the key points and dates- you can fill in the details later with additional research or reading.

6. Store Your Notes Online

Tired of writing everything out by hand? Can’t seem to find your notes when you need them most? It might be time to start writing and storing your notes online. Digital note-taking makes integrating new strategies such as color-coding and categorizing details by their related concepts easy. And if you’re looking for a new note-taking app that makes it easy to access all your notes from any device, Bublup might be the perfect fit for you.

Conclusion – How to Take More Effective Notes

No matter what new note-taking strategies you choose to utilize, it’s crucial that you stick with them. Consistency can help save you from organizational hassles that are all too easy to slip into in college. Effective note-taking will make reviewing lectures, memorizing key concepts, and studying for exams as straightforward a process as possible.

Bublup is your go-to note-taking app for saving and sharing everything, all in one place. With convenient reactions and commenting, reliable cloud storage, and simple sharing options, Bublup makes it easier than ever to stay organized and productive. Join for free today.