Life Hacks: How to Take Better Notes


Taking notes has made our lives easier. It allows us to recall the lessons we learn and remember the things that otherwise, we would easily forget. It’s not just something that your mentors expect from you, but one that you should do to become a better learner.

While there’s no wrong way to take notes, there are, however, better ways to do them. One life hack is to take a picture of your lecture on the board and convert it into a PDF file using a JPG to PDF converter.

In this article, we are covering topics about the benefits of note-taking in learning and how you can do it better.

Why Effective Note-Taking Skills Matter

Well-constructed and detailed notes make it easier for you to remember concepts and gain a better understanding of the topic. It can serve as a quality review material, which can help you prepare for the exams.

You would want to become a better note-taker for the following benefits:

  • It allows you to focus on and better understand concepts
  • It makes you a better listener and helps you develop good comprehension skills
  • It helps you better remember what you see and hear
  • It serves as a review material that is useful in the days leading up to the exam.

So, How Can You Take Better Notes?

Notes are key memory tools that help your brain process information for later recall. While using electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and phones have made note-taking easier, research shows that writing with pen and paper remains a more effective strategy for recall.

But, regardless of how you take notes, the following hacks apply.

  1. Write notes in words that make the most sense to you – It’s not always necessary to write notes exactly as your teacher has. Instead, write it or summarize it in a way that you would still understand later. But, of course, make sure that you copy diagrams accurately and that your grammar is correct.
  2. Shorten long words – Another way to summarize notes is to abbreviate or shorten them. Some examples include fem (for feminine), ff (for following), and diff (for different). You can also omit the vowels of a word such as qty (for quantity) or schl (for school). In some cases, there are just too many words to write down and these hacks would make it easier for you. You can always get back to your notes and add the extra words or letters later.
  3. Use pictures, diagrams, and symbols – A picture paints a thousand words—this old adage remains true and applicable in note-taking. Colorful visuals that represent ideas, concepts, and processes are just easier to recall. You can even keep a glossary of symbols to make your notes consistent.
  4. Summarize your notes – In relation to our first few points, it’s necessary that you summarise your notes and you should do so within 24-hours after taking them down for maximum recall. This is where you should add the words or letters that you opted out of when you were rushing to take down earlier.
  5. Organize your notes – You may be writing notes, but if you don’t organize or store them properly, they’re just as good as scribbles that will no longer be revisited later. Keep dividers and other organizing trinkets handy to keep each subject separated.

Similarly, if you’re taking notes on a laptop or tablet, you can keep your notes organized by storing them in labeled folders. Make sure that at every end of each class, you sort them into their designated folders.


Taking notes in a way to have a better grasp of the information presented can significantly differ from one person to another. You may be more confident in typing your lessons with your tablet and recall them better than the others. But, what’s consistent is the fact that transcribing lectures and notes help you learn and make sense of information easier. It takes off the burden of having to remember so much from your brain. As Albert Einstein said, “Never memorize something that you can look up.”

Do you have any other tips to add to this list? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. Make sure to share this with your friends, too!