Note-Taking: Why and How?

One of the most jarring elements of any school transition, be it elementary school to middle school, middle to high school or even high school to college, is the need to take notes. You’d be shocked at the number of students who enter a new school not understanding why or how to take notes. Luckily, here we are to answer both questions.


Studies have shown that writing information down by hand reinforces information in a way that typing simply does not. According to the New York Times, hand writing activates a “unique neural circuit in the brain.” It is the process of repeating the motion that helps information stick in our brains. Having to rewrite information over and over activates the parts of the brain associated with memory formation and information storage. Simply, put, handwritten notes are the best way to reinforce concepts.


There are several excellent types of notes, all of which have their pros and cons. For a detailed list of the five most effective, look here but we here at TLM advise on Outline notes.

Outline notes probably look familiar to you, you just never knew their name. They follow this structure:

  • Main Idea

    • Sub topic

      • Supporting fact or evidence 

This type of notes are excellent for structured reading (such as most textbooks) and lectures that follow a certain structure (as many high school lectures do.) This New Year, make outline notes one of your Resolutions, and you will see results.