All Posts

Published in General

Note Making vs Note Taking: A Comprehensive Guide

By Scholarly

8 min read

Share this post


Note making and note taking are two essential techniques that students and professionals use to capture and retain information. While they may sound similar, there are significant differences between the two methods. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the distinctions between note making and note taking, their respective benefits and best practices, and how they can be leveraged to enhance learning and productivity.


Past State

In the past, note taking was primarily done manually using pen and paper. Students and professionals would jot down important points, summaries, and key concepts during lectures or meetings. Notebooks and loose-leaf papers were common tools for organizing and storing information. However, this method had limitations in terms of organization, searchability, and accessibility.

Current State

With the advent of technology, note taking has evolved significantly. Digital note-taking applications like Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, and Google Keep have gained popularity. These tools allow users to capture and store information digitally, making it easy to organize, search, and access notes across different devices. Many note-taking apps also offer additional features such as audio recording, image embedding, and cloud synchronization.

Future State

The future of note taking is poised to leverage advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). AI-powered note-taking tools can automate tasks such as summarization, keyword extraction, and content organization. These tools can enhance productivity and save time by intelligently processing and structuring handwritten or typed notes. Integration with voice recognition technology may also enable real-time transcription during lectures or meetings.


Some of the key benefits of note making and note taking include:

  • Note Making:

    1. Enhanced understanding and retention: The process of summarizing and synthesizing information promotes better comprehension and memory retention.
    2. Personalization and creativity: Note making allows individuals to organize and structure information according to their unique learning styles and preferences.
    3. Active engagement and critical thinking: The act of actively processing and organizing information encourages deeper thinking and analysis.
    4. Efficient revision: Well-crafted notes serve as concise study materials, making revision more efficient and focused.
    5. Long-term knowledge management: Effective note making helps in creating a valuable knowledge database for future reference.
  • Note Taking:

    1. Capture of detailed information: Note taking allows for the capture of detailed, verbatim information during lectures or meetings.
    2. Organization and searchability: Digital note-taking tools offer powerful search and organizational capabilities, making it easier to locate specific information quickly.
    3. Portability and accessibility: Digital notes can be accessed and synced across multiple devices, enabling flexible and on-the-go learning or work.
    4. Annotated reference material: Notes can serve as a reference for future projects, research, or collaborations.
    5. Collaborative note-taking: Digital tools facilitate collaborative note-taking, enabling multiple individuals to contribute and share their insights.


The significance of using note making and note taking lies in their ability to enhance learning, comprehension, and knowledge management. These techniques provide individuals with structured and organized resources that can be repeatedly reviewed and utilized. Effective note making and note taking also promote active engagement, critical thinking, and the development of effective study or work habits. Furthermore, digital note-taking tools offer enhanced accessibility, collaboration, and searchability, making information retrieval more efficient.

Best Practices

To make the most of note making and note taking, consider the following best practices:

  • Note Making:

    • Use abbreviations, symbols, and visuals: These aids can help condense information without sacrificing clarity or understanding.
    • Organize information hierarchically: Create a structure that allows for easy navigation and retrieval of key points and supporting details.
    • Include personal insights and reflections: Adding your own thoughts and reflections alongside the main content can facilitate deeper understanding and connection.
    • Use color coding or highlighting: Color coding or highlighting important concepts or categories can aid in information organization and retrieval.
    • Regularly review and revise: Regularly reviewing and revising your notes reinforces learning and helps identify gaps or areas that require further exploration.
  • Note Taking:

    • Be an active listener: Stay engaged during lectures or meetings, and listen for key ideas, arguments, and supporting evidence.
    • Develop a shorthand system: Create a shorthand system that allows for quick and efficient note taking without losing important details.
    • Utilize headings and subheadings: Use headings and subheadings to create a clear and organized structure in your notes.
    • Add contextual information: Record brief contextual details such as date, location, or participants to help recall the context in which the information was presented.
    • Review and consolidate: Regularly review and consolidate your notes to reinforce understanding, identify gaps, and connect related concepts.

Pros and Cons

Note Making Pros:

  1. Encourages active engagement and critical thinking.
  2. Facilitates personalized organization and structure.
  3. Promotes creativity and flexibility in capturing information.
  4. Enhances comprehension and retention through summarization.
  5. Enables efficient revision and exam preparation.

Note Making Cons:

  1. May require additional time and effort to condense and synthesize information.
  2. Can be subjective and may lead to omission or misinterpretation of key details.
  3. Limited verbatim recording of important information.
  4. May not suit individuals who prefer comprehensive and detailed notes.
  5. Prone to information overload if not properly organized.

Note Taking Pros:

  1. Allows detailed capturing of verbatim information during lectures or meetings.
  2. Offers efficient organization and searchability of digital notes.
  3. Enables collaborative note-taking and knowledge sharing.
  4. Provides accessible and portable study or work materials.
  5. Facilitates quick reference and retrieval of information.

Note Taking Cons:

  1. May promote passive learning and limited critical thinking.
  2. Reliance on technology and potential for technical issues or data loss.
  3. Requires additional effort to review and consolidate information.
  4. Limited personalization and flexibility compared to note making.
  5. Potential distractions and multitasking when using digital note-taking tools.


When comparing note making and note taking, consider the following factors:

  • Main Purpose: Note making focuses on summarizing and synthesizing information, while note taking aims to capture detailed information verbatim.
  • Level of Detail: Note making condenses information into key points, while note taking captures information in more detail.
  • Flexibility: Note making allows for personalization and creativity in structuring information, while note taking follows a more structured approach.
  • Retrieval and Searchability: Digital note-taking tools offer efficient search and organizational capabilities, while manual note making may require additional effort for retrieval.

AI Impact

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform note making and note taking in various ways:

  • AI Applications: AI-powered applications can automate the process of note making by summarizing and extracting key concepts from various sources, saving time and effort.
  • AI Techniques: Natural language processing and machine learning can enhance the understanding of handwritten or typed notes, enabling improved organization and searchability.
  • AI Benefits: AI-powered tools can improve the accessibility and management of digital notes, making them more structured, searchable, and interactive.
  • AI Challenges: Developing AI systems that accurately interpret and process handwritten or typed notes poses challenges due to variations in handwriting and language usage.
  • AI Online Apps: Online apps like Scholarly enable AI-assisted note making and note taking, allowing users to generate flashcards, auto-complete sentences, and transcribe images or PDFs to text.

Common Techniques

Some common note making and note taking techniques include:

  • Concept Mapping: Creating visual representations of key ideas and their relationships.
  • Cornell Method: Using a structured two-column format to organize notes, including a summary section for key concepts.
  • Mind Mapping: Creating visual diagrams that depict the connections between different ideas and concepts.
  • Outline Method: Structuring notes using headings, subheadings, and bullet points, creating a hierarchical and organized format.
  • Split-Page Method: Dividing the page into two sections, one for main notes and the other for additional details, examples, or questions.


Some challenges to consider when using note making and note taking techniques include:

  1. Finding the right balance between summarizing and capturing necessary details.
  2. Adapting note taking techniques to different learning or work contexts.
  3. Over-reliance on digital tools and potential technology-related issues.
  4. Developing an effective note reviewing and consolidating process.
  5. Avoiding information overload and focusing on key points.

Potential Online Apps

Several online apps can assist in note making and note taking processes:

  • Scholarly: Scholarly offers AI-generated text completion, flashcard creation, auto-complete, and studying features to enhance note making and note taking.
  • Evernote: Evernote is a popular digital note-taking app that allows users to capture and organize information across devices.
  • Microsoft OneNote: OneNote enables users to create and organize notes in a digital notebook format, offering powerful search and collaboration features.
  • Google Keep: Google Keep is a simple and intuitive note-taking app that syncs across devices and supports voice recording and image embedding.
  • Notion: Notion combines note-taking, task management, and collaboration features in a versatile and customizable interface.


Note making and note taking are valuable techniques that can significantly enhance learning, comprehension, and knowledge management. Understanding the differences between the two methods and leveraging their respective benefits and best practices can enhance productivity, organization, and information retention. With the integration of AI-powered tools and advancements in digital note-taking applications, the future of note making and note taking holds immense potential for personalized and efficient learning and work processes.


Try Scholarly

It's completely free, simple to use, and easy to get started.

Join thousands of students and educators today.

Are you a school or organization? Contact us