Zettelkasten Forum

Method for Creating Zettels during Lectures

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to share a method I've adopted for taking notes during class lectures that has proved to be helpful. Basically, I have adapted the format of the Cornell Method of note taking (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornell_Notes), and adopted it to organize the future creation of Zettels.

The notes are written by hand on standard 8.5x11 paper that I fold in half (so I have four functional half sheets to utilize per paper). I use the "recall" column for my anticipated Zettel title and then the notes section for corresponding information for the future Zettel. The summary section gets used for my own summary of the information in the "notes" section and becomes the basis for a structure note.

In the past I have tried using actual slips of paper, and although it works great for books, I've found that this process is more conducive during lecture style learning (at least for me). When I'm done, all I have do do is create individual Zettels from the information and connect them to the structure note and any other connections in my archive.

How do you take notes during lectures? Any other methods out there?


  • I went down a similar path, for what it's worth, separating my notes into 2 columns and then processing things later.

    Eventually, I switched to A4 blank printer paper in portrait or landscape orientation and began to draw more. Like what's now called Sketch Notes. I'd sometimes start at the top-left, sometimes in the middle; with time, I got better at predicting which mode works well, e.g. starting in the middle to add multiple facets in all directions to a still unknown topic when the tutor was giving an overview, like you do with Mind-Maps.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • Interesting. Thanks for chiming in with your process. When looking for the post on reading notes to reference it I actually stumbled across your blog post that included an example of one of your SketchNotes (https://zettelkasten.de/posts/take-notes-paper-computer/). (Even the website functions like a ZK! haha!) Do you still consider the final product simply like a reading note? In other words, do you just create zettles from the Sketch Note, or does the final Sketch Note become part of your ZK?

    Similarly, I once used a method called the Slash Recall Method which is similar to Sketch Notes, but less visual (also similar to mind mapping). I can see the advantages of Sketch Notes, especially in regards to connection. Were there any other advantages that drove you to utilizing the Sketch Note method (beside the benefits of having visuals)?

  • I like looking at some sketches from the past, and some of these still evoke strong memories. So they're better mementos than my non-spatial, boring notes from before. But I cannot do much with them the way they are, so yes: I still process the note to make stuff useful in the long term. Also because while the sketches evoke emotions and associations, I can't write from these. I need Zettel notes in my own words at the end anyway. Probably highly inaccurate, but I imagine I have to shift the drawn stuff from my right brain hemisphere to the left via words, and that's the processing step.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

Sign In or Register to comment.