How to Take Notes in Class: The 5 Best Methods – College Info Geek

How to Take Notes in Class: The 5 Best Methods – College Info Geek


What is the best system for taking notes in
class? Luckily for you, I did the research and it turns out that there are five different
note taking systems that are generally accepted to be pretty darn good. Of course, I will
be representing these note taking systems with Street Fighter characters because, why
not. The five note taking systems I’m going to
go over in this video include the outline method, the Cornell method, the mind map method,
the flow method and the write on the slides method.
The first note taking system on my list is the outline method. I chose Ryu to represent
it because the outline method is straightforward, based on hierarchy, disciplined and overall
very simple. In fact, you couldn’t get more simple than the outline method unless you
were just straight up writing paragraph notes down. If you think that’s going to be a
good note taking method, well, things are not going to work out for you.
The outline method is a note taking system that’s based on bullet points and hierarchy.
Basically, to take outline style notes you simply create top level bullet points of all
of the main points in the lecture. Then you make lower level bullet points to fill out
all the details. If you’re taking outline notes on paper,
it’s a good idea to either space out your main bullet points or summarize them at the
top if your professor goes through them. Then, make new bullet points that are more detailed
down the line. However, if you’re taking these notes on
a computer like I always did in a program like Evernote or Byword or another word processor,
you can easily go back, add new bullet points and format things without having to mess up
the structure of your document too much. Honestly, for the outline method I think using
a computer is a perfect approach. The second note taking method on my list is the Cornell
method. I’ve chosen Chun-Li to represent it because she’s got multiple kicks and it’s
got multiple sections. The Cornell method was developed by Walter
Pauk back in the 1950s and it still holds up pretty well today. When you take your notes
in the Cornell style, you divide your paper into three distinct sections. On the top of
your paper you’ll two different columns, the left one being the cue column and the
right one being the note taking column. Underneath those two columns you add another
box for the summary. During class, you use the note taking column on the right to write
notes in a normal style. However, this is where the Cornell method deviates from other
note taking systems. As soon as you can after class, you write down questions or cues in
the cue column. These are meant to help you review later.
You also write down a summary of the lecture in the summary column. These two sections
of the Cornell method, the summary and the cue column, they’re both designed to help
you build reviewable notes the first time you write them. That way you don’t have
to go back and rework your notes so much. Note taking system number three is the mind
map method. It’s been said that your mind is a map of the territory that is reality.
Maybe by that logic the mind map system is the perfect note taking system. Actually,
that doesn’t make any sense at all. Either way, I chose Dhalsim to represent the mind
mapping system because he’s a meditator and he’s always focused on improving his
mind. To begin a mind map, you simply take a blank
piece of paper, draw a circle in the middle of it and add the main topic of the lecture
there. Then you’ll start branching off little trees and adding sub topics. Eventually you’ll
have lots of little branches and you’ll create a mind map.
I never actually used mind maps for my class notes but I have used them for blog post topics
before. When I’m wanting to write a blog post on all the ways you could save money
in college I wanted to make sure I could cover all my bases. I created a mind map. I put
saving money in college in the middle and then tried to figure out all the different
facets of a student’s life where they have to spend money.
Building a mind map help me organize all these topics and as a result, I was able to create
a more comprehensive list in the end. The fourth note taking system is the flow method.
This system was invented by the writer Scott Young who’s probably best known for going
through the entire MIT computer science curriculum in a single year.
Scott uses what he calls holistic learning and his approach is diametrically opposed
to the rigid transcribing style of the outline method. As a result, I chose Blanka to represent
this note taking system. His fighting style is that of basically a wild animal and it’s
the complete opposite of more disciplined fighters like Ryu or Guile.
That is a perfect way to describe the flow system of note taking. You’re not trying
to get every single detail from the lecture down to your paper and in fact the point is
not to transcribe the lecture at all. Rather it’s to learn while you are sitting in class.
As you take your notes, your goal is to create an original document that represents your
mental image of the subject. It’s not to record verbatim what your professor said.
As you take notes, you can go back to earlier points, add details, draw on arrows and little
offshoots and basically create something that is your own.
The entire point of the flow system of note taking is to learn it once. This lets you
accelerate your learning and that’s the real strength to this system. Final system
of taking notes is the lazy man’s way of taking notes. I call it the write on the slides
method. To represent this note taking method, I chose Zangief because Zangief.
Seriously, do you really think I put a whole lot of thought into these things? If your
professor actually lets you download the lecture slides before class, then it can be pretty
convenient to just go print them off at the computer lab and write directly on them. One
of the cool things about this method is that the slides more or less mirror the flow of
the lecture. You almost get a timeline view when you take notes on slides.
It’s kind of like SoundCloud where people can actually leave comments at specific times
during an audio file. Taking notes on slides isn’t that accurate but it’s pretty close.
When you do it you can look back and say okay at this slide he was talking about return
on the cost of buzzword synergy management. Those are the real strengths of the method.
You don’t have to write as much because the slides do it for you. You get a timeline
view for your notes. Those are in my humble opinion the best five
note taking systems out there. Which one’s right for you? Hey there, thanks for watching
my video on the different note taking systems you can use. If you like this video, I would
absolutely appreciate it if you could give it a like and share it with a friend who’s
maybe not as good taking notes as you are. Charity’s a good thing right? If you want
to hear more videos every single week on being awesome in college, including more videos
on how to take better notes, which I’ll having coming out in the next couple of weeks,
then hit the subscribe button up in the corner. Yeah, that one. If you missed last week’s
video, you can click the button right under that. It’s not actually a button, it’s
more like a little movie clip but it’ll get you there all the same so whatever. You
want to get links to other websites with additional information on any of these note taking systems
then click the orange logo on the left corner where you’ll find the companion blog post
for this video. If you’d like to get a free chapter of my
book, Hacking Productivity, when it comes out well click that thing. Also, if you would
like to suggest any other video ideas for the future or leave a comment then leave a
comment or you can connect with me on Twitter.

100 comments

  1. I use the flow methods, but write on the slides sounds good. I would probably type of the slides since I hate printing out slides.

  2. Outline Method – 0:32
    Cornell Method – 1:34
    Mind Map Method – 2:28
    Flow Method – 3:24
    Write On The Sides Method – 4:29

  3. I take outline notes all the time and I had a teacher literally tell me that what I was doing wasn't notetaking. that school worshiped the cornel method which really didn't have much appeal to me.

  4. I absolutely hate the Cornell Method. At school, we are forced to take Cornell Notes for each subject to prepare us for college.

  5. 02:23 – You combined the Cornell Method with the Outline Method. I think these two methods complement each other very nicely.

  6. Zangeif because he has one move to beat your opponent easily just 4 times. There are some small moves, but that's just to get the end goal faster.

  7. What is the best method of taking notes for a professor who just talks during lectures and he jumps from topic and then back to previous topics…..I need a better method for note taking because his style of teaching isn't very organized and making it hard for me to distinguish what is important. So if I could have some feedback from anyone that would be great and very much appreciated.

  8. Thank you for this video. I'm tired of being flooded with videos of girls showing how they take notes, with fancy pens and intricate handwriting

  9. Step 1: Take notes super fast in class if your professor is one of those super sonic fast writers. You should probably record the lecture too.
    Step 2: Go home and neatly rewrite what you wrote in class in any of these methods.

  10. If you have played that game whose characters are representing each note (Maybe Street Fighter). You might remember these method by the character's name.

  11. I prefer using the outline method for note taking, but I use the mind map system for quick review studying for English, Religion, and History.

  12. 1. Record the lecture via laptop or mobile phone
    2. Listen to the recording at home then write the explanation of the slides in the PowerPoint that the teacher gave you. You can then write your own words based on the teacher's explanation. Also you can rewind and pause the lecture because you recorded everything the teacher said.
    3. If you didn't understand what the teacher said, send him or her an email.

    This is the best note taking system for me but it is very time consuming.

  13. I only write part of the things that professor says in class, but I’m not the type of person who remember the whole lecture in class. So, the flow method is the one that helps me a lot. It may seems like chicken scratch, but is the only method helps me connect with something.

  14. I use the fifth method on the printed out lecture slides, then use the outline method to revise the chapters, and the other 3 methods for memorising/summary before midterms and finals. Helps me in engineering school.

  15. Hey Thomas, I really want to take notes at class, but one i can't do this 2 things at the same time (listening to the teacher and writing) and also I don't know what to write because I don't know what's more important. and when I know that a thing is important, the teacher already spoke about it 5 minutes ago and I can't remember what he said.

  16. I use outline method on my history,english,values subjects
    I use cornell method on my
    Math,science,technology and livelihood subjects
    And uses mind mapping on Arts,Music,physical education,and health

  17. since analog notes are better than typing for learning, you can improve the outline method by creating an index of topics. number each page and each bullet point on a page. add the page number and the bullet number to the appropriate topic in the index. i.e., Avogadro's number is the 3rd bullet point on page 4, so you index it as 4-3 under stoichiometry. by glancing at the index, you'll know the exact location of all your notes on a given topic.

  18. I could never take notes in class and nothing here would have helped me to do so in the past. How am I supposed to take notes and prioritize what is important or not, or summarize in real time, material that is completely new to me? It's not like the teachers stop every 2 sentences or tell you what you should write down. By the time I figure out something is important, I've lost the build up to that and if I start thinking about what was important over the last 5 minutes, I miss what's being said in the next 5 minutes.
    A skill my brain could never wrap it's tiny little "head" around.

  19. A HUGE TIP! if you can get your power point slides from your professor, print them out in outline method! it cuts down a lot of what is shown (pictures,maps,etc)

  20. the best system for any body is his OWN HYBRID

    for me flow method and some of cornell (summary part only)
    and backed up by mind mapping to keep tracking all subjects chapters and understand notes between them

  21. Thanks, Thomas for all of your tips! You are brilliant and very handsome! I hope I meet a great guy like you someday! 🙂

  22. The one that works the best for me is the write-on-the-slides method since my teacher is Eminem

  23. Cause I have Low, Low Hopes For a livin
    Have and IPHONE X yet I cannot make a killing
    Streaming Random memes is what I do for a livin
    Cause I have Low Low Hopes

    Mother Said…
    Take some Tylenol
    When I said
    Wanna do YouTube

    Cause I have Low, Low Hopes For a livin

    Shootin at the stars wearing MLG glasses
    Streaming Random memes to make a big killin

    Cause I have Low Low Hopes

  24. I have been using flow method for my entire life (33 years now) and glad to know I am not the only guy who writes such chaotic notes.

  25. What I am excited to try is combining both the Cornell style of notes with Mind mapping.

    Contrary to the other 500 people that said mind mapping is confusing to them, it is really help me out with not just organizing already known information, but forcing me to process the information and put it under what category it belongs to.

  26. Thank you, Thomas. I really enjoy flow method while learning programing but I also use different strategy's from others.

  27. I prefer just getting straight to the point for notes & taking notes or even writing specific things.

  28. I want to use outline or mind map, but my professor's quick paced to the point I have no choice but to use the flow method.

  29. I briefly thought about being more intentional with note taking at the start of the semester, but I obviously didn't follow through.. and my notes were a mess. They didn't serve me while revising for exams and it was the most stressful experience. I'm so close to banging my head on my desk right now because 4 of those methods would have been perfect for note taking (except the outline method that seems boring and too much work for revising to me). So I might implement all 4 next semester depending on how the profs decide to do their classes. Mind mapping would have worked perfectly in didactics, I had a lecture where the prof had all the materials up before the semester even started and the Cornell method would have been great in all those lectures with a lot of factual knowledge. My favorite might be the Flow method though. Seems like the most work during the lecture, but the least afterwards and also most importantly fun, because I get to add all kinds of hilarious concepts and references

  30. Cues | Notes | Summary (Cornell Method )
    I think this is the best. When you read and learning something new you have to have question about what you read and to know to answer to yourself. If you don't know to answer to yourself you didn't learn.

  31. from my experience, the note taking style might not be the same for all subjects… It varies. For me I can say that most of my subjects I used outline… and some other here and there
    mind mapping? well I oftenly only use this when its close to the exam period where I only highlights important words

    just my humble thoughts

  32. Super duper helpful! I was really struggling in taking notes these past few days, but your video helped me figure out what note-taking style I want to use. In high school, I wrote my notes in Cornell style (maybe because I wanted to do them Chun-Li' style because she is my favorite Street Fighter character, or maybe not…anyways) but now that I am in college, I want to experiment with other styles.

  33. Cornell method seems the best👌🏻 I’ll use this method through out my first year in college, which is this year. And I’ll report the result in the comments.☺️

  34. For math subjects, like precal or chem, I found that just rewriting everything in your own words did the trick. And instead of copying down practice problems, you should make a bullet point list of which step to take for every type of problem instead redoing the problem again in the notes.

    Everything should fit in 2-3 pages for each type of problem

    Subject/Topic (Ex. REDOX)
    Key terms (Oxidation, Reduction, Oxidation Numbet, etc)

    Easy to remember sayings that might help
    (Oxidation Is Loss, Reduction Is Gain OIL RIG)

    Bullet Point of Steps
    Ex.
    Oxidation #
    reduction vs oxidation
    make half reaction
    add H2O, add H+
    add electrons
    balance charges
    (add OH if basic)
    combine

    Ofc everything would have to be reworded in your own words and you have to be able to think of the steps in your head without referring back to it over and over- since this is a remorization tool not a reference tool

  35. In avid in highschool they taught us cornel note style. I do Cornell note style combined with bullet point and putting it how it makes sense to me. Than I finish by writing a summary as if I'm teaching the topic with simple terms so I know I understand the concept of the topic at hand

  36. I have been using flow method without even knowing it…. Great…. I am clear abt my concepts and its not rigid i just feel freeeeee while studying

  37. I love Cornell notes because it forces you to go over your notes a bunch of times like I wait after class to go over, highlight, and make questions. Then I split up the sections another day, then I answer the questions another day so I’m constantly going over it. Any other way I feel Cornell is useless

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *