How I Take Notes | Back to School 2018

As much as I hate to admit it, summer break doesn’t last forever, and it won’t be too much longer before lazy mornings and late sunsets are relinquished in favor of textbooks and pencils. I still have a few more weeks of freedom, but knowing that some students will be going back a bit sooner than me, I want to get the ball rolling on my back to school blog series. 

This first installment (as you may have guessed from the title of this post) is all about how I take notes. I am by no means an expert so please take this wisdom with a grain of salt ahahah.

You can read all of the posts in this year’s back to school series here. (I’ll be adding posts about once a week for the next month or so, so don’t be alarmed if this is the only post there right now. More back to school excitement is on the way!)

note taking_header

So, the method of note-taking that I use is quite simple. Firstly, I write the date at the top of the page. (ALWAYS do this. It takes two seconds and it just helps you be more organized.) Next, I write the header. What you should write for the header is usually pretty obvious. It will be the title of the chapter that you’re reading, or the topic that your teacher will be talking about in class—in my experience, this is usually written on the board first thing.

How I Take Notes | Back to School 2018

I also add sub-headers as I go through the note-taking process to signify different parts of the lesson.

How I Take Notes | Back to School 2018

Then we get to the bulk of my notes, which are basically a collection of bullet points. I find that it’s important to be concise, use shorthand, and pull out the most important words or phrases, because there probably won’t be enough time to write down every single thing the teacher says.

The best way to keep a bullet point list organized is to use sub-points as well, so you can quickly see which ideas are related to each other. This system allows you to identify the starting points and then the points that branch out from those points.

How I Take Notes | Back to School 2018

I also sometimes add little boxes on the side of the page for things like pictures or definitions that don’t fit with the flow of the rest of the notes.

note taking_vocabulary

Some other important things that I do:

  1. I draw any pictures that the teacher draws on the board. (These are usually helpful!)
  2. I also emphasize the most important things that I write down. There are a number of ways to do this: highlighters, boxes, underlines, different fonts, color coding, etc.
  3. Either after class or when I’m studying for test, I pull out the absolute most important points from the chapter/lesson/whatever it was I was taking notes on and write them at the bottom of the page or on a separate sheet.


Some people actually have a system where they use two notebooks for each class:

  • one class notebook, where they jot down their notes messily with their main goal being getting down all the information,
  • and one home notebook, where they read through their class notes and organize their thoughts and make their notes look nice.

Research shows that rewriting things is really great for memorization, which is why this system would be helpful, but I would imagine it’s also very time-consuming. This is probably why I don’t actually know anyone who does this. (I’ve only read about it online.)

As far as my own notebook system, I’m not quite sure yet how I’ll proceed this upcoming year. Last year was tricky, because some classes have a LOT of notes (I’m looking at you, physics), and some have basically none. (English class, I took notes for you like twice.) BUT, it can be hard to predict which subjects will need the bulk of your notebook space.

I’ll probably ask some friends who have already taken the classes that I’ll be taking next year about this, and then I’ll get a bunch of two- or three-subject notebooks: the classes that have a lot of note-taking will get books to themselves, and the rest of the classes will have sections in larger notebooks.

A strategy that has the potential to solve this dilemma is digital note-taking. If your school allows students to use computers or tablets to take notes, programs like google docs, notability, and evernote could be very helpful for note organization. I personally much prefer handwriting my notes, but technology is a great tool, and many people use it to take really great notes.

It’s also important to mention that I keep track of all of my assignments in a notebook, my school planner. I use a Leuchtturm notebook for my planner, and I use bullet journal-inspired methods to track homework. A tour of my school planner setup for this year will be up soon! (I’m unsure about whether to call it a bullet journal, because the journaling aspect isn’t really there; this notebook is quite a bit different from my usual bullet journal.)

Finally, here are a few examples of notes that I’ve taken:


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Aaannd that’s pretty much it! I try to keep my system kinda simple, but by all means find what works for you! There are so many different ways to take notes (looking at study accounts on instagram and tumblr is a great way to see examples) and I would love to hear in the comments about how you take notes and any tips you might have. Again, I am not at all an expert, and am still figuring out what works best for me. Thanks for reading, and good luck to everyone who’s going back to school! (Or who’s already in school if you have a different education system!)

♥ Annie

How I Take Notes | Back to School 2018

25 thoughts on “How I Take Notes | Back to School 2018

  1. Zaru

    I think I’m somewhere same like you, I take the notes in the same way. Lots of people don’t add the date and that triggers me. I kinda enjoy writing notes in black and blue then color pens.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: School Supplies Haul | Back to School 2018 – Blossoms and Bullet Journals

  3. Chloe

    I need to take notes for high school and I’m gonna die jsksnsnjdanjs save me mom I’m gonna try ur method so pray for me I just wanna go back to Greene street

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HOW ARE YOUR NOTES SO PERFECT. XD But seriously, I love them. I also use the bullet point, sub-bullet point, and sometimes sub-sub-bullet point system, but mine are not too pretty, since I’m usually trying to not miss anything and keep up with the lecture. I’m excited for the rest of your back to school posts! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU OLIVIA. Yeah, some of mine can get pretty messy too—it really depends on the subject for me. Like in geometry class last year my teacher was really organized and thorough so it as easy to take good notes, but in some other classes it was a lot harder to get notes that made sense and looked nice 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing! I’m going back to school soon myself, and your tips are very helpful. I was the kind of person that wrote like EVERYTHING down (and yes, that is super time consuming), but I guess writing helps me memorize things better. I’m now trying out new studying and note-taking methods.

    Liked by 1 person

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