Handwritten Note-Taking Methods

The appearance and organization of my notes plays a huge role in the amount of time that I dedicate to studying and my overall performance on tests.  Therefore, I’ve spent the past several years experimenting with various methods, and these are a few of the techniques that I’ve found to be most beneficial.

Cornell Method

The Cornell Method emphasizes identifying the key points of a textbook passage or lecture and consolidating information as much as possible.  

I’ve found that this style works best for literature and science courses that require extensive, dense reading and note-taking.  It allows me to easily and quickly identify what I understand versus what I still need to work on.

Adapted Cornell Method

I’ve created my own adaptation of the Cornell Method by eliminating the summary section at the bottom of the page and incorporating Post-It notes throughout the body of the page to highlight lists and key points.  And, of course, I had to add some color!


This is, by far, my favorite method due to its flexibility and clean, minimalist appearance.  While the image above doesn’t depict a true series of bullets at varying levels of indentation, you can experiment with different types of bullet points as well as varying spacing.  

I prefer using this method for maths because it allows sufficient space for me to draw graphs, record examples, and solve problems.  


Mind-maps are extremely helpful for organizing complex or extremely confusing topics.  There’s no right or wrong way to go about drawing one, and much of the final appearance will be related to the material that you’re diagramming.  Keep in mind that certain topics and information will more readily lend itself to this sort of portrayal.

For those of us who aren’t artistically talented 🙋🏼, these can be rather challenging to construct, especially when working with unfamiliar material.  In the past, I’ve used mind-maps for history when looking at isolated events or individuals.

i dont love you anymore but i still see you in my sleep sometimes. i keep thinking about how in love we were and how many chances i gave you and how many times you let me down. the hardest thing to do is leave someone you love, but by the time i left, there was nothing about you worth loving.