Online Study notes
Online Study Notes

Timeless Note-Taking Strategies for College Students

Making insightful notes might be challenging. Discover strategies for taking effective study notes. There are countless ways to take online notes, but none are equivalent.

Here is a summary of the top note-taking strategies for college students, along with information on how to use each as well as when you should (or should not) use it:

  1. The Outline method

The outline approach is the first note-taking strategy. One of the most structured note-taking techniques is the outline method, which also has a very orderly appearance.

Your major points should be added as bullet points, and then you should expand on them while taking notes. Build a nested bullet point beneath any piece of supporting data. Remember to limit your sentences to one per point, if possible. The final draught of the memo should resemble an outline.

When to apply this approach of taking notes?

The outline method is perfect when you need to quickly take study notes, such as during meetings or lectures. Its straightforward structure makes it simple to understand the hierarchy of the data and how the many concepts relate to one another.


  • Highlights the topic’s major points
  • Enables you to group points that are connected
  • Well organised and organised graphically, allowing it revision-friendly


Not the best for topics that call for plenty of diagrams, charts, or images.

  1. The Cornell System

One of the most well-known and widely used note-taking strategies is the Cornell method, which Prof. Walter Pauk of Cornell University developed during the 1950s. Instead of just mentally noting things down, it forces you to consider your notes as you go actively.

All of the class’s notes are placed in the primary note-taking column. Use the smaller column on the left for remarks, queries, or suggestions on the actual notes.

After the lecture, spend a few periods summarising the page’s key points in the section at the bottom. This will greatly speed up your reviewing as well as your studying. The best thing is that several people have already retained and processed the information as they compose a summary like this.

When to apply this approach of taking notes?

Because they are so simple to revise later, Cornell notes are particularly useful for studying.


  • Assists you in recognizing the key concepts
  • You gain a deeper grasp of the subject by writing the summary. Your notes are now logically organised and simple to skim whenever it’s time to modify.


Note-taking requires a little more work and time to configure the page.

  1. The Boxing Method

A very graphic approach to taking notes is called the Boxing Method. This provides you with a quick summary of your subject. Your notes would be organised into sections or subtopics, each with a designated box. You can also use PDF notes for taking notes.

When to apply this approach of taking notes?

Summarize the main ideas from each lecture within each of the boxes (or subtopic). Use of this for revision is advised. There will be one course or topic per page or set of notes. The boxes should be appropriately labelled. You get a single summary page with all the major points for that course at the conclusion.


  • Making anything useful during revision
  • Provides you with a quick synopsis of each chapter, lecture, or subtopic.


  • Not a good approach for taking notes during lectures or meetings where you need to be able to write rapidly.
  • Inconvenient when you’re drawing boxes by hand (in contrast to using a note-taking app)
  1. The Charting Method

The charting technique is an excellent approach to arranging various objects or ideas with several characteristics. Notes for students can be made easy to understand with this method.

For instance, when learning chemical elements, the columns contain each element’s characteristics, like atomic mass, colour, melting temperature, etc., while the rows are devoted to a single element.

When to apply this approach of taking notes?

Charts are helpful when comparing objects based on a certain set of attributes.


  • Wonderful for comparison
  • Summarize several items in an orderly manner.


  • Not suitable for taking notes that follow a plot or development of material or more linear notes.
  1. The Mapping Method

The Mapping Method is yet another visual note-taking approach. You may organize your notes and connect the different themes by breaking them into branches.

At the top of the map, begin by writing the primary subject. As you descend, continue to segment it into subtopics here on left and right. A mind map format, in which you begin in the middle and branch outward, is another option.

When to apply this approach of taking notes?

This approach works perfectly when plenty of explanation is needed for a single issue. This also functions when your notes are organised into a tale or a linear progression.


  • Easy to develop and implement concepts
  • Easily show connections between pieces of information; expand without overcrowding the page.


  • You can run out of room on the page when you have numerous informational branches.
  1. Holistic: Flow Notes

This note-taking technique is excellent for students who want to get the most out of their in-class active learning and spend the least time reviewing the material later. To treat oneself like a student and not a machine that transcribes lectures is the goal of flow notes.

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