Note-taking system


I get a lot of questions about how I take my lecture notes, and so I thought a quick post might be helpful! I’ve said many a time that I don’t do anything too complex with my notes, nor do a re-write them – but this system really works well for me!

The Basics

First off, I write all my lecture notes in black pen. Sometimes this is a Bic pen, sometimes a Sharpie Fineliner. My highlighters are the Zebra Mildliners. I don’t underline and highlight my notes until after the class, usually the next day. This allows me to focus more in class and gives me an opportunity to review the information at a later date.


At the top of the page I’ll always write the date in full and the name of the module that those notes are for, followed by title for that lecture. Underneath, you can see that I’ve devised a colour coding system with highlighters. I usually do ‘citations’, ‘examples’ and ‘important info’, but this may vary depending on the lecture content, so I do this step after I’ve completed the notes.


Each section of the lecture is given a subheading, which I will underline – again after the class has ended, usually at home. I use the subheadings which feature on the PowerPoint, but rather than writing the information shown on those I base my notes off of what the lecturer is saying.


I indent my writing for examples and for the text that follows them, as you can see with ‘the diggers’ and my definitions of the green economy. I find this makes it much easier to identify and follow as you re-read your notes.

Symbols and Shorthand

I use little right-angle arrows like you can see at the top of the page for my ‘follow through points’, which act as consequences for the point that is mentioned above. I will use three dots {like this  } as a symbol for ‘therefore’. It concludes the points that I have made and is usually based off of how the lecturer has summarised the point they are making. This makes my notes much more coherent.

I hope this has been informative and has maybe given you a few ideas on how to do your own lecture notes! xo

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