Pretty Productive Effective Notes

Updated: Sep 6

By: Breanna Naysmith


Did you know taking and writing neat notes with all the information can help improve the learning process. Organizing your notes and taking your time helps to process the information and allows you to organize concepts in your own terms, making it easier for you to understand them. Neat notes help you identify questions or gaps in your knowledge for further explanation. Actively taking notes during class can help you focus and better understand main concepts. Good note-taking will improve your active listening, comprehension of material, and retention.

Also they give you material to reference when studying and helps you feel more organized, prepared, and confident when test time arrives.

To make neat and productive notes you need to start by finding the perfect pens and highlighters for your liking. I suggest the Zebra Mildliner Highlighters. For headings and doodles I recommend the Zebra Clickart Marker Pens. For the actual note taking and writing of the information I really like many different brands. The different brands all write very smoothly and don't smudge because they are fineliner pens rather than gel pels.

  • Staedtler Triplus Fineliner

  • Stabilo Point 88 Fine Liners

  • Zebra Sarasa Fineliners

  • Uni Emott Fine 0.4

  • Faber Castell Black XS

If you do prefer gel pens, they do smudge but some write very smoothly I do recommend Papermate Inkjoy gel 0.7. Some of those pens brands are a little on the pricer like $15-$20 so if you prefer cheaper brands I do recommend Dollar General, they have an amazing fineliner brand that is probably just as good for only $2-$3. Maybe you want pretty notes but you tend to mess up, Pilot Frixion has erasable highlighters and gel pens in many different colors.

To make the notes you should start with a bold title that catches your eye. Then if needed a subtitle can always be added in cute ways. If you are adding headings for sections, always make them stand out and in a different shade or color than the rest of the information so they are easy to locate. Next you can approach writing the information in two ways. First you can make the headings and titles in colors and all the rest black or you could make the headings in a lighter color and the words in darker colors. I suggest always writing the information in a darker color and the heading in lighter colors. To keep your notes organized I recommend sorting them by subject. When taking notes I recommend making each page or set of notes one color/tone. For example, one topic in tour class could be blue notes and just incorporate different shades to make the titles and heading stand out or only use cool tones but keeping the notes neat and organized. Also when highlighting and underlining, do not highlight or underline everything, only necessary words. Now don’t feel restricted, always star or mark any very important information so you know to study those points extra. Lastly, if you like extra cute notes feel free to add cute doodles for bullet points and color code any graphs added into your notes. Always remember to take your time when writing notes to retain the information and keep them neat.

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