Study Skills for Sixth Format Newcastle University Library


Newcastle University

New website coming soon... 👀
Home » Academic Writing » Notetaking


How to take notes

There are many methods of note taking. Most people follow a linear method. This involves working down (or across) a page and using sub headings and colour to highlight and link points. Some people prefer to do spider diagrams or mind maps.


spider diagram mind map

Many people combine the above methods e.g. using a linear method to make initial notes and then a spider diagram/mind map to organise their notes and begin planning their essay. Any method is correct, it is simply a case of trying them out and finding which works best for you.

Below are some of the key points to remember when making notes:

  • Keep your notes brief – do not write full sentences
  • Be selective – only note down what you will potentially use
  • Use spaces on your page to help you organise your notes
  • Consider using pictures, sub-headings and colour to organise your notes
  • Include referencing details
  • Do not just copy, put it into your own words
  • Allow sufficient time
  • Actively read (do not just copy, think about what you are reading, what it tells you, how you engage with it and how you can use it..)

Video: Introduction to Notetaking


An introduction to notetaking for academic writing.

Duration: 1 minute 09 seconds

Organising your notes

spider-diagramsThere are different methods of organising your notes, some examples are shown below.