Wednesday, 2 January 2013

How To Take Notes - Linear

So far in this series, we have looked at pictorial notes and Cornell notes.  Today, I am going to focus on linear notes and their advantages and disadvantages.

What are linear notes?
These notes are the most common type. Almost everyone has used them at some point. They are, as the name suggests, notes taken in lines.

How Do You Make Them?
These notes are very simple. Nothing fancy. They involve a basic top-down approach which is how we write most of the time. To give them more structure, you could add headings.


  • Nothing fancy, no methods to remember. You can just get straight to it.
  • They make the most of the available space on the page so your notepad may last longer
  • They are probably the least effective way to take notes. The brain does not work in straight lines nor does it learn that way. The brain learns by patterns and associations, so it would make more sense to organise our notes that way. 
  • The notes are just lumped together. There is no way of quickly extracting information and adding to the notes later. 
  • Revising from them is a traumatic experience. In all seriousness, no-one wants to have to plough through whopping great big chunks of text, especially when the subject matter itself is complicated. To revise effectively, you need to be able to break down the information and sort through it. Linear notes aren't in the correct form to do this.
However, a good way to use linear notes is to take them when you are in a hurry e.g during class or a lecture. You then review them afterwards by putting the content into a more accessible format, such as pictorial notes or a mind-map. This makes you form connections between concepts and consider the meaning and relevance of what you are learning.

What do you think of linear notes? Which note-taking method do you currently use? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


  1. Hi there! I think linear notes are probably the worse note taking method. They are simply unorganized and useless; to me at least. I currently use the charting method! Best method I have ever used, in my opinion, better than the Cornell note method which I believe you have another post on! Hope that answered your two questions. :)

    Twitter: @SillySilberman

    1. Hey Jordan! I definitely agree about linear notes being worst. I am very interested in your charting method you mentioned - is it by any chance similar to the one J.K. Rowling used to plan her novels? Perhaps you could tell me more about it so I could feature a post on it?
      And thank you for your comment :D.