The Absolute Best Way to Take Notes (3-minute Read)

In this article, we will discuss the absolute best way to take Notes.

Note-taking is a simple practice that people in schools, professional spaces, and casual discussions use to list essential ideas. Some people take notes word by word. Others know how to write in shorthand, while some have developed a unique note-taking formula.

The absolute best way to take notes requires having all the right tools and following a practical note-taking method to capture all the details. It involves using a technique that makes it easy to remember.

Notes are your only key to remembering different issues fast. Whether you took notes during class, during a meeting, or while chatting with friends, your notes remind you of important details discussed then. You probably missed some points and didn’t capture every detail in your notes. 

The Absolute Best Way to Take Notes

Here, you will learn practical tips and tricks on the absolute best ways to take notes.

1.    Come Prepared

Going to a conference? Maybe have a lecture or a critical business discussion with friends/colleagues? If yes, you want to come prepared with all the necessary note-taking tools. They include;

  • Pens. Bring different colored pens.
  • A notebook or blank pages.
  • If you’re using a laptop to take notes, make sure it’s fully charged.
  • If you can’t read without glasses, always carry them along.

Remember to find a spot where you can hear and see the speaker clearly.

2.    Listen Actively

Effective note-taking doesn’t only involve continuous writing and no talk. Understanding more and remembering fast involves engaging with the speakers and colleagues. 

Aim to grip the information you are being given while simultaneously taking notes. Consider asking questions if you miss the point or find it hard to understand some things. 

Instead of yelling out questions the second, you craft them in your mind and find the right time to pose your question. Don’t be afraid; most speakers will not find your questions interruptive. In fact, they will appreciate your need to want to engage and understand better.

3.    Take Notes by Hand 

Some people may be faster when writing by hand than when typing. Therefore, using your phone or laptop to take notes may not be the best option. 

Writing by hand prompts you to understand the meanings of words while jotting them down. On the other hand, typing is simply transcribing words without caring what they mean.  

Thus, studies show that writing by hand helps you retain more information even when your typing speed is incredibly fast

4.    Identify Keywords and Ideas

Note-taking and transcribing are two different practices. However, unbeknownst to many, writing every word of your lecture does little to help you capture all the essential details. 

The absolute best way to take notes is by identifying crucial keywords and ideas. Instead of writing everything during your lecture/discussion, take down the most relevant points.  This includes dates, definitions, key phrases, names, etc.

Avoid writing down information that you know already. Focus more on learning new ideas. Remember, the whole point of taking notes is to aid you in simplifying the process of learning something new.

5.    Learn and Use Shorthand

Shorthand is a note-taking system developed years ago and used by many to simplify the note-taking process. Typically, you can write about one to three words per second. However, the average lecturer/speaker says two to three words per second. 

It is, therefore, necessary to develop a practical note-taking system to avoid falling behind and to grip every idea. The shorthand note-taking method involves shortening whole words down to using a letter or two that you can understand when you later review your notes.

Examples include; 

  • Using ‘wd’ instead of would
  • Using ‘w/’ instead of with
  • Using ‘pop sov’ to mean Popular Sovereignty etc.

If the speaker is talking faster than you can capture even when using the shorthand note-taking method, you may want to bring a recording device next time. That way, you can listen to the discussion again and fill in the gaps in your notes.

6.    Use the Note Taking Techniques

You can use various Note-taking techniques such as Chart Method, Outline Method, Cornell Method, and The Mapping Method.

7.    Take visually Appealing Notes

You are less likely to read your own notes if they appear plain or messy. However, if you carefully arrange your notes and use different colored pens to format and highlight essential ideas, you’ll have a better time learning from your notes.

Clever tips that can help transform your note-taking experience here include;

  • Start on a new page. You don’t need to compress everything in one page. If a topic ends halfway down a page, consider moving to another page to introduce a different matter.
  • Write the date, main headings, and subheadings using a different colored pen. This brings emphasis and attention to the areas. It allows easy access if you are looking for a particular topic.
  • Use symbols, charts, and diagrams wherever necessary to illustrate ideas.
  • Write readable notes using neat words that are adequately spaced and shaped for a more detailed review.


The best notes are easy to review and refer to. Above are crucial pointers to help you capture all the information you need to pass an interview, test, or enrich yourself intellectually. We hope the above tips on the Absolute best way to take notes were helpful.

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