What do your study notes look like?

I was just wondering how everyone takes notes when they’re studying.
I use Tae Kim’s website for grammar and try to condense that down into notes.
As for kanji and vocab, I like to write them down on paper as I learn them so I’ve ended up with lots and lots of pages of nonsense Japanese like you can see on the right lol. It really helps with memorizing though.

Anybody else want to share?


Ah thanks, I must have missed that one.

I’m a Japanese grammar beginner, but I made pages on Evernote for particle usage. I also keep handwritten notes too.

I put my image here because the OP wanted to see what our study notes “looked like”, not just a general “what we use to take grammar notes” type question.


Thanks for sharing :smile_cat:
That’s a good way of doing notes, it’s so organised!

I love to database things and in OneNote I can add tables which I can sort my info, which is pretty handy. I can also search for anything.

I did a blog post on taking notes a month ago, and while I still love handwritten notes, it can be convenient to keep them in something like Evernote or Onenote.

Thanks for sharing your image too! I can see you are much further along in studying grammar than I am! And it’s always fun to see other people’s actual notes. :grinning: Your kanji and notes are very legible!


Your blog post was really interesting! I could relate to all the benefits of pen and paper you listed (especially the one about filling up a notebook - it’s so satisfying!)
I like seeing other people’s notes as well! After seeing yours I might have a go at putting some digital notes together too :smile_cat:

@tiamo, your notes are beautiful. At that stage of study, the handwritten notes are just fine. It’s so much easier to switch pen colours or draw a diagram on a piece of paper.

I started using OneNote after my first year of study. I found that I wanted to document grammar rules in tables. Having them on a computer was good because I kept changing them until I found the format I wanted.

As your vocabulary expands, you might find it handy to group your words in different OneNote pages. Lists are easier to find in OneNote than in a physical book.

As for retention, I spend up to one hour writing up a single grammar point. By then, I have understood that point really well. Perhaps handwritten notes are better for retention because it takes longer to write than to type?

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I’m impressed with you guys’ neatness. I just scribble things down as I work through textbooks and classes to help me remember (writing helps with remembering for me and it’s good to practice) but it pretty much goes in the bin eventually.

I like how those look! I keep thinking about typing up my notes sometime as review (and to have a digital copy) but I just am so bad at typing in Japanese. I know it’s supposed to be way faster and simpler and I just have to get used to it, but gah. It felt like trying to text on an old flip phone with super aggressive predictive text where everything turns out gibberish.

It just took me a few days of taking notes on computer and now it’s second nature. To swap between Japanese and English, I press window-key and spacebar at same time. It’s no different than making an exclamation mark to me now! Well, I get to choose whether to say with the kana or choose a kanji variation, so that can take a bit sometimes.


For grammar study, I use quizlet. I’ll create flashcards with the concept (today it’s how to use ほど) with a few examples, then when I review the deck, I expect myself to create sentences or structures using the grammar notes, and using the cards to verify accuracy/understanding.

For real-time electronic note-taking, I use Google Keep, as it is light, feature rich, and integrates with Google Drive.

I’ve tried what you did but failed because my Japanese handwriting is terrible. Yours is so easy and clean to read, impressive!

I haven’t been using a standard note system yet (currently going through Rocket Japanese, Sticky Study, Wanikani, and “Japanese for busy people” (book)). Some are systems required for my work training, others are my personal additions.

Thank you for sharing various note techniques you use for managing it all. This is all very helpful! (especially using OneNote for a all-in-one place and search capability)

Couple of pages from my Genki notes.


These are my exam study notes, organised by form, jisho, futsu etc for better memorisation and similar ones grouped together to practise the differences (damn all the よう and こと) , I also have an in depth grammar book I made explaining each form and a contents page so I can navigate it better. I also have flash cards for on the go revision

Please excuse my terrible hand writing!


I’m impressed that you don’t need english translations with your example sentences! Looks like you’ve got a good range of expressions under your belt :smile_cat:

I don’t take notes.

Not really.

I originally tried to draw Kanji because I thought it would help me remember them more easily, but it had absolutely no impact on my recall - probably because I wasn’t doing it in a more interesting way than just copying out the stroke order so I could get a mental ‘feel’ for the Kanji. I have ‘notes’ from 3 years ago from where I wrote down all of the hiragana and katakana several times as well as the on/kun-yomi readings for ~10 kanji, but that’s everything in the way of written notes.

I kind of take electronic notes, but again, not really. Just advice and benchmarks, among other things, like this:

I don’t feel like notes help me to understand grammar on an intuitive level, so I don’t take them.

…Uhh, was that a waste of a post? Oh well.


Thanks :slight_smile: I force myself not to have translations to make me apply my learning better, i can always look them up if I forget. I’ve found setting it out like this has really helped but I’ll let you know how it has worked after the N4, if I mess it up I might need to reconsider lol.

Apart from WaniKani I’m not actively studying at the moment, but here are some notes from my language-learning archives which, while not comprehensive, are the summaries to which I wish I had access from the beginning. There are three documents, one each on particles (助詞), verb conjugation (動詞) and useful vocabulary (語彙). I’d be happy to share the editable files, so let me know if you would like to develop them further.