5 Effective Ways to Take Notes for College Students

Fri. 19 May. 20238223 Mins

As a college student, taking effective notes can be a lifesaver when it comes to studying and retaining information. However, with so many classes and assignments, it can be challenging to find the best way to take notes that works for you. Fortunately, there are a variety of note-taking methods that can help you stay organized and succeed in your studies. In this blog post, we’re going to explore 5 effective ways to take notes for college students, and how PDF Reader Pro can help make the process easier.


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1. Cornell Method

The Cornell Method of note-taking involves dividing your page into three sections: a large note-taking area, a smaller cue column, and a summary section. The note-taking section is where you will jot down the main points of your lecture or reading, while the cue column is used for writing down questions and key terms that can help you recall the information later. Finally, the summary section is where you will summarize the entire lecture, class or chapter in a few sentences. This method has proved especially helpful for fact-heavy courses or when there is a large amount of information to remember.


One of the features in PDF Reader Pro that can help with taking Cornell notes is the split-screen tool. This tool allows you to compare your PDF document side-by-side with your note, making it easier to make quick references without having to switch between screens. Additionally, the highlight and underline tools help identify the main points to easily add to the Cornell note-taking guide.


2. Mind Mapping

Mind mapping involves circling a central idea and branching off into related subtopics. This method allows you to organize your notes based on relationships between ideas and can help you understand the bigger picture. This method is helpful when studying topics with many different sections or in various classes, as it allows you to easily grasp the relationships between seemingly unrelated ideas.


PDF Reader Pro works perfectly with this note-taking method. You can create a PDF document and use the organizational tools within the app such as circles, lines, text boxes, and colors to create a mind map. The tool offers easy manipulation with rich annotation features. With PDF Reader Pro, you can keep your mind maps forever and refer back to them whenever you need to refresh your memory.


3. Outlining

If you’re a more traditional note-taker, outlining may be your preferred method. This method involves organizing your notes using bullets or numbers and grouping your ideas and thoughts into categories. Outlining notes can provide a clear hierarchy of importance and may help you focus on more critical points of the lecture or reading.


When it comes to outlining with PDF Reader Pro, the bookmark and hyperlink tools work exceptionally well. You can bookmark and hyperlink certain sections or pages of the document for quick and easy access. This will help streamline the process of outlining, as previously noted points can be referred to in a sentence or paragraph that follows.  


4. Charting

Charting  is another way of taking detailed notes, mainly for comparing and contrasting different theories, ideas or concepts. This method is beneficial for science or social science classes with a variety of formulas, trends, or historical timelines. Charting notes help organize information in a clear and concise way, making it easier to compare and contrast.


PDF Reader Pro excels as the go-to app for this note-taking method. It has an intuitive annotation tool that includes lines, arrows, and the ability to add captions. With the table of contents and bookmark feature, you can create and manage an outline in real-time and navigate between specific sections for more in-depth information.


5. Diagramming

For those who prefer visual learning techniques, diagrams can be an effective way to take notes. Diagramming uses pictures, flow charts, diagrams or other visual aids to help recall detail-heavy topics such as biological processes, chemical reactions and software design. This method allows you to identify the relationships between different ideas more quickly.


There is a wide array of visual aids available in PDF Reader Pro that can help with diagramming notes. The highlight and underline features offer basic tools for identifying the areas to build the visual aid, while the shapes, lines, text boxes and arrows help to create the diagram. You are limited only by your imagination with the fluid interface of PDF Reader Pro.



Effective note-taking is essential in college, but not all students know the best way to go about it. With the five note-taking methods outlined above (Cornell Method, Mind Mapping, Outlining, Charting and Diagramming), students will be equipped with a variety of techniques that suit their studying styles. At the same time, downloading PDF Reader Pro can help students stay on top of their note-taking game with its easy-to-use organization and annotation tools that are beneficial for any note-taking method. Download and purchase PDF Reader Pro today and experience an entirely new level of note-taking.

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