How do mathematicians keep their notes? 7 best keys

many math students or mathematicians wonder about the right ways to keep their notes. What is the best strategy to keep notes organized and effective?

In this article, we’re going to discover the best 7 keeping notes methods for mathematicians who want to stay motivated in their studies.

Timing notes

Timing notes is an effective way for students or mathematicians to take notes and keep them organized. In other words, put a date for each note. The timing method operation is based on 3 things:

  • putting the daytime
  • putting the subject
  • highlighting the lecture part used

Putting day time: putting the day time meaning, according to each note a date the note was taken. This help student not also understand notes but remember the events that happened across this specific day which helps to bring more memories and solidify the information.

Add a subject: students have a lot of mathematical subjects, merging between those subjects is easy and could become messy. So students have to put subjects names on each note to differentiate them easily.

Highlighting the lecture part: to give a note-taking operation more specification, students should reference the note taken. That is to say, write on the paper notes, from each page was extracted this notes or highlight how many lecture pages were taken this note.

for instance, let’s say that the (a+b)² =a²+b²+2ab rule was taken between the 25 to 30 textbook pages lecture.

These images can explain the timing model method like this image below.

timing note method

This method is only efficient if a student is persistent and uses it each day during classes.

Correcting notes mistakes

On average humans are making between 3 to 6 mistakes an hour, making mistakes is human nature and the best way humans use to learn. But what is the relation between mistakes and taking mathematics notes?

The taking notes method is a fast operation, students take notes quickly and don’t have time to verify them.

In other words, students can take wrong notes, theses notes are dived into two categories:

  • wrong writen notes
  • misunderstood notes

wrong written notes: are notes written wrongly, for instance, forgetting to add () sign or a number. is a copying mistake.

misunderstood notes: wrong notes that students didn’t understand well, which makes bad assumptions and bad constatations.

correcting method is based firstly on revising all notes and highlighting the suspected ones. In other words, notes that student isn’t sure about their credibility or flaws’ existence. Then finally correct them when verification is done.

you could watch this image below

How do mathematicians keep their notes

The correction mistake method helps students to revise their notes, solidifying their background and correcting the wrong analogies about math topics.

The double notebook methode

The double method notebook is based on taking notes with two notebooks, one notebook for messy notes and the second for clean and tidy notes. To clarify, write notes firstly in the first notebook and rewrite them later on in the second notebook.

we can divide this method into 3 steps:

So you can take all your messy notes and scribble them there is no problem. The first step is based on gathering information as much as possible from classes, professors, and textbooks.

At this moment the quality of notes is not interesting the most important thing is to gather relevant notes.

The second step is to analyze and filter those informations or notes. So you have to filter any irrelevant or incorrect information by double-checking or even asking professors about them.

The last step is to rewrite those correct and filters notes in a tidy and appealing way, meaning being able to go back and access them easily.

This method has a double effect, solidifying informational notes by research and verification. The second thing produces highly relevant and useful quality notes to help prepare students for math exams.

Using iPad

The most effective way that we recommend is using electronic paper such as iPad, taking notes with iPad for math or any major is efficient and reduce a lot of headache about the organization.

According to Simbainformaitons over 1.2 million students of different ages are using iPads, this is not a coincidence, iPad or tablets are considered the best tool for taking notes.

4 iPad major things about mathematicians for taking notes

We’re going to talk about 4 major interesting things that iPad would be helpful to make mathematical organized notes.

  • have multi-color pen
  • portability
  • make unique notes video sounds images
  • note storage

multicolor pen: with an iPad, you could take beautiful and appealing mathematic notes by using different colors depending on your preferences. you could write with one pen more than 16 million different colors without any problem.

portability: iPad is portable and you could carry it wherever you are going, it has a battery that could last for 8 consistent hours. Moreover, there is an unlimited paper you don’t have to carry notebooks or box pens with you.

to produce high-quality notes you only need a tablet and it pencil.

make unique notes: using the iPad allow you to make convivial notes, meaning including voice recording, youtube video, and images. Doing that on paper is impossible you have the complete flexibility to craft your own notes.

note storage: you could save all your notes in a cloud and access them with any ios device phone, laptop, or iPad itself. Many students have a problem and hardships between keeping their old notes or tossing them, the digitalization is a solution.

you could imagine the difference between looking at trigonometry notes on your shelf and in the iPad cloud. In the cloud, for just 2 or 3 seconds you could get what you want, while in your library shelve it could take minutes or even hours.

The image below is an example of mathematicians making and keeping their notes with iPad.

ipad math taking notes

Writing scripts with each note

Writing scripts with each note is a useful method, it helps students to put additional information about notes. Consequently, increase the note understanding and helps students to know more details about it.

Many students do this method by putting small scripts that vary between 50 to 100 words below each note taken. It could be additional information, new insight about, or even warnings about these specific notes.

Sometimes students pick a note but hear that professor talking or warning about some sides of it. So this note has some additional pieces of information. Hence adding a script about a note is interesting to prevent using this rule in a bad way.

Adding or sticking scripts to math notes is a useful thing to detailing the information. Is a section where students put juice information about a note and things they should keep in their mind.

In time exams students go directly to those scripts because they have information that isn’t shown up in textbooks.

Using livescibe

Livescribe is a special pen that allows a student to digitalize their notes, meaning transforming automatically their written words or notes to a digital paper-like pdf or words and images.

This special pen is an ink pen with an electronic embedded device that records all the hand movements during a writing process and store them in his memory. So all the notes that you wrote on paper get saved into your application phone and you could access them anytime.

This special pen could record over 6 hours of writing without having any external connection, meaning you could use it for a long day journey as a normal ink pen. Once you go back home you can connect it with a phone and recover the whole written words.

This device uses a special paper to write on but a student could reprint it without the need to buy it again. You could watch this video to know more about this writing technology.

This pen could also record the sound while writing, which is the best option for taking notes that we’re going to talk about in the next paragraph.

Recording notes

According to Statista, More than 45 percent of American adults affirm using sound books once. In other words, meaning around 120 million have used audio content. This indicates the importance of audiobook technology.

recording notes is an important method that a lot of students ignore, it is fast and barely effort consuming. That is to say, doesn’t require to take time and effort for picking information.

many students are using to record notes and even lectures using their phones.

Recording notes in math seems not feasible, but the most important thing that we talk about is not recording the (a² + b²) rule or any math equations. The most important thing is recording observations or questions about (a² + b²) instead of writing long lines on the paper.

This method could replace writing scripts about mathematic notes that we noticed above. Instead of writing the whole script below the equation, you could just replace it with the sound file name. you could watch this example below.

transcription note method

with the recording note method, it becomes

recording notes method

So we transformed the all text transcription into a “sin θ recorded transcription.mp3 ” recorded file. meaning the student will find all transcripted text recorded in this file name he got on the phone.


for mathematicians taking notes is not for taking notes only, it is an information internalization more than anything else, meaning understanding and absorbing information by repetition and making summaries.

There is an article that talks about 9 tips for taking notes for physics and math you could check for more detailed information and prevent some mistakes to fall into.


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.