How to make effective notes

by Alia Naeem

Are you tired of seeing your notes getting jumbled up? That they are never organized and impossible to direct through? Don’t worry, after this blog, you’ll learn how to make efficient and succinct notes.

What are proper notes?


First things first: proper notes are brief but informative pieces of writings to aid you for exam prep or right before a big test. You do not copy and paste everything the teacher told onto your notebook. Writing everything down could seem tempting if you forget something, but remember, that’s not what notes are for! You should write down your thoughts on what you believe to be the teacher’s most crucial points when taking notes. 


How to make a proper notes


You usually don’t have enough time to write down everything the teacher writes on the board before it’s erased. It’s not about the amount of your notes, it’s about the quality. Bullet points are the best way to write down the most important notes. Make several of these throughout the lecture, and add some details that you think are important or are afraid you might forget. You can save time by writing in abbreviations or symbols. Remember to revise your notes often once you make them, to make sure you can understand them later on and didn’t write anything incorrect.


Before you start writing the notes, write about what you don’t understand about   the lecture, and see if you can clear your concepts about it during your note-taking. If you don’t understand something while writing down your initial notes, write them down as questions at the end or back of the page. So later, you will know what you need to work on and can take your queries to the teachers.


You can create a crude or a graphic diagram because images are typically much easier to recall. Be honest with yourself: what are the chances that you’ll sit down to read every single one of your unadorned paragraphs of writing? Images speak a thousand words and are easier to comprehend, even if they’re only a rough sketch.


Typing or Writing?


The big question is: should you type out your notes or write them down? Generally speaking, both are useful and effective in their own ways. 

Typing makes note-taking much easier and quicker, and it’s less tiresome. You can copy and paste diagrams with just a few clicks, with help only a search bar away! 

Writing down your notes also has its perks. As you manually write it down, bits of information will get stuck in your head. Moreover, research shows that students have a deeper understanding of what they are noting down while they’re writing.

Make them eye catching


Your notes are easy to lose if you present them in the same format and manner as every other piece of writing. Instead, experiment with a distinct, alternative format for your notes. Make your headings big and conspicuous so you can quickly identify your notes without going through your files or looking up the file name. Don’t forget to include lots of drawings and diagrams. 

Avoid making your notes fancy in the classroom as it consumes lots of time and you can miss any important detail your teacher just stated. In the classroom, settle for rough graphs and makeshift notes, highlighting or underlining where you think is the most important information. In your free time you can color code them, add fun stickers to them to make them more appealing. Studies show that color helps us in memorizing certain information by increasing our attention level. 

Platforms for Notes



Evernote lets you collect all your notes in one place and due to the Notebook feature it allows you to categorize your notes by subjects.


Apple Notes


This is for all the apple users! Apple Notes allow you to type or take your notes by hand. Its drawing features allow it easy to make illustrations and sketches.



In a split-screen view, Notability enables users to open two notes simultaneously. Comparing notes is made considerably simpler by this.


Google Keep


Google Keep is one of the best platforms for note-taking, and you can use it on any device ranging from phone to computers. Here, you can draw your notes and diagrams, type as well as voice type, add pictures and labels. 

Google Docs


You must have heard of Google Docs before. You can make your notes both online or offline. Here you can type, voice type, insert images and diagrams, add headings and unique fonts, and so much more! Apart from that, you can download them into different formats such as PDF and EPUB.

How to revise your notes


After you are done making notes, you should use the Spaced Repetition technique and keep revising these notes and make sure they see the light of the day again! Revise them after you’re done writing them, before and after your classes, and while you’re doing your homework. 

It’s advised to start revising your personal notes a few weeks before your exams because the early bird catches the worm! Remember you shouldn’t just read your notes, write bits of them down so they stick to your brain, such as particularly lengthy formulas or challenging paragraphs. 

Another fun way to memorize your notes is pasting them all over the place, in forms of sticky notes. This is more effective because this way you can revise them while moving around in your house and it’s easier to understand your personal notes.

The day before the exam you should quickly skim through your notes and test your knowledge.

So in order to make the best notes, make diagrams and sketches and write down the things you think are most important. To make your notes captivating, color code them and add headings. Remember to skim through your notes daily, whether they’re typed or written. Keep revising your notes when the exams are close and keep writing them down! It ensures you don’t forget all about your notes and when the exams draw near, you’ll be all prepared.


About Mojza

Mojza is a student-led organisation aiming to provide quality resources for Cambridge students.

Other than such weekly blogs, Mojza offers resources for your O levels, IGCSE, and A levels journey, We have notes from reputable teachers, our own original notes and a library of other websites and resources!

Check out our home page!

Published 29 October 2022
Written by Alia Naeem