How to Take Beautiful & Effective Notes in Class

Hi, everyone! I’m sorry that this post is delayed by a day, I was out at a Portugal. The Man concert last night and I forgot to schedule this post to upload on time. The show was fantastic, and I plan on writing a quick journal post about it soon. 

So if you’re anything like me, you need to take notes on everything that is covered in class or else you’ll forget all the information. The dilemma? Taking perfect notes in class can be tiresome and boring. During my freshman year, I was taking a class called Buddhist Art History. It was fascinating, and I would frantically write down all of the information that the teacher lectured us on. But as the class drew on, my handwriting would get sloppy, and I would forget to include all of the information.  

Today, I am going to share with you three different note taking methods that you can use in class and as ways to create fabulous study guides! 

The first one is the most common and straightforward method, the outline.  
Here is a photo that is a simple guideline for making an outline.  

outline notes effective

I like this method a lot because it is quick to create and is perfect for any class that has a lot of specific details about each point. 

The second style is the Cornell note style. My science teacher in 9th grade first introduced this style to me, and each though I initially despised it, it is beneficial in complicated high-level courses. Here is an outline of how to set up a page and what to include for a Cornell style page of notes.  

cornell notes effective

As you can see, this is a slightly more complicated way of setting up notes, but it is perfect for classes that present a  lot of open-ended questions such as English or philosophy classes. 

The third method is a mind map.  
I recommend making a mind map after class when you want to expand on the notes you have taken. In the center of a page, write down the subject inside a circle. From there drawn lines or arrows to different subtopics and illustrate or write the information that correlates with each subtopic. Here are some amazing mind maps for inspiration! 

Here is a quick 6-Step Process for taking notes and studying them that you should ask yourself: 

1. Remember- did you read the textbook and pay attention in class? 

2. Understand- do you understand what your notes are saying? 

3. Apply- can you ask and answer questions about what you read? (This is perfect for the Cornell Note Method!) 

4. Analyze- can you see a theme? 

5. Evaluate- what's the difference between a good thesis and a bad one on this particular topic?

6. Create- make your own thesis on the topic? 


And remember, make taking notes fun and in a way you understand. Don't just follow one note taking method if it will not help you and your learning style. And finally, here is a spreadsheet I made with simple ways to make your notes pretty, colorful, and fun to study! 

my pretty note guide

Thank you for reading this post, and I'll be back on Wednesday with another article!  

P.S. Here are some more note taking inspiration pics! Take a look at these before you head to class :)