How To Take Notes In Class: The 5 Best Systems

What’s the best way to take lecture notes?

In this video, I’ll go over five of the best note-taking systems out there. We’ll also dive into the strengths of each, in order to figure which is the best for:

  • Organizational structure
  • Ease of studying
  • In-the-moment learning

…and more.

These methods really run the gamut of efficient ways to record data, so check out each one and ask yourself which would suit your particular classes the best.

If you’re unable to see the video above, you can view it on YouTube.

Looking for More Study Tips?

10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades - Thomas FrankEffective note-taking can help you learn much more quickly than normal, but it’s only one step to earning great grades.

If you want tips beyond that, I’ve got you covered. I just finished writing a book called 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades (While Studying Less) and I’d like to share it with you for free.

The book covers topics like:

  • Defeating procrastination
  • Getting more out of your classes
  • Taking great notes
  • Reading your textbooks more efficiently

…and several more. It also has a lot of recommendations for tools and other resources that can make your studying easier.

If you’d like a free copy of the book, let me know where I should send it:

I’ll also keep you updated about new posts and videos that come out on this blog (they’ll be just as good as this one or better) 🙂

Video Notes

The best systems for taking notes in #college! Use these tips to study better in less time.

Here’s a Pinterest-worthy image if you’d like to share this post there.

After you’ve picked your favorite note-taking system, stay tuned. Next week I’ll be bringing you a countdown of hacks you can use to make your notes even better.

If you liked this video, subscribe on YouTube to stay updated and get notified when new ones are out!

Thomas Frank is the geek behind College Info Geek. After paying off $14K in student loans before graduating, landing jobs and internships, starting a successful business, and travelling the globe, he's now on a mission to help you build a remarkable college experience as well. Get the Newsletter | Twitter | Instagram

Hey there! Please note that some links in the article may be referral links, meaning that if you buy something through them, I'll earn a commission (at no extra cost to you). This helps to support CIG, but please don't buy anything unless you truly believe it'll benefit you! You can learn more here. Thank you :)

Want to Earn Better Grades?

Did you find this article useful?

Over 150,000 awesome students are learning how to dominate their classes, get more done, and land the jobs they want - and you should too.

Join in, and I'll also send you a free copy of my book on earning better grades!

Leave a Reply

13 Comments on "How To Take Notes In Class: The 5 Best Systems"

newest oldest
Notify of

This video was super helpful, thank you!


Love your site. We linked back to two of your posts including this one in our blog. You can find our post here: Thanks for the great content.


Can you state about feynman’s method of learning??


I went to the link for the MIT challange notes, but I cannot find where he discusses his note taking style. Can you point me to where he talks about this?

Sam M

hello! I am an incoming freshmen at a university in Manila, Philippines. I really want a copy of your book but as of now, my family is financially incapable of paying for shipping. Is there anything I can do to get a soft copy or a pdf file?


If you sign up for the newsletter you can download the PDF version of the book


Loving the videos!

I enjoy note-taking so much more now that I’m doing sketch notes as popularized by Mike Rohde.

Here’s his site with some videos:

You can see one of my sketchnotes on this post on how to organize a garage like Wes Anderson:

For marking up PDFs, PDF Expert 5 by Readdle is awesome and for organizing them check out their App Documents (Free) — they work together.


For shorthand you invent on the fly, be sure to make a legend, lest you forget what the heck you meant when you were scribbling stuff down!


I like to take notes on slides. I have the slides on my iPad and add my crappy iPad hand writing, then I clean it up and take the best/most important from the slides and my notes in a seperate document. This works for some kind of lectures but for math and physics I like to follow the calculations and proofs in a more flow based way.

I like your choice of caracters for the different methods! 😀

// Read This Next

37 Awesome Streaming Music Sites You Should Check Out

Want more? Join over 150,000 students and grab my free book on earning better grades  →