Tips & Stories

6 Study Tips from the Winner of Evernote’s Twitter Sweepstakes

6 Study Tips from the Winner of Evernote’s Twitter Sweepstakes

Posted by SiNing Chan on 24 Aug 2016

Posted by SiNing Chan on 24 Aug 2016

When Jonathan Copeland, a second year student at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, was selected as the winner of Evernote’s Twitter Back to School Sweepstakes, we knew we’d found a treasure trove of Evernote tips for students. Jonathan submitted not just one, but eight ways that Evernote helps him become more successful as a student. With so much Evernote joy bursting out of him, it came as no surprise to learn that Jonathan has recently become an Evernote Community Leader so he can continue spreading this joy to others around him.

Jonathan with Evernote swag prize

Here are some ways that Evernote helps Jonathan become a more productive and effective student:

Tip #1: Save all course-related information into Evernote, then organize into notebooks and notebook stacks

Stacked notebooks

Jonathan stores all his handwritten notes, PowerPoint and PDF presentations, and graphic design files in Evernote. He organizes everything from his information science courses into notebooks—first by class, then grouped as notebook stacks, by semester.

One of Jonathan’s favorite ways to use Evernote is adding multiple file attachments to a single note, and editing them with the original application, without leaving Evernote. To edit any of these files, he simply double clicks the file link. He considers this feature one of Evernote’s best-kept secrets.

Here’s an example of how Jonathan adds various graphics, web (HTML), and stylesheet (.CSS) files to a note:

combined attachments in a single file


PRO TIP: Use one of Jonathan’s favorite Evernote keyboard shortcuts, Command + J on his Mac, to search, then quickly jump to a recently viewed note or notebook.

Tip #2: Use audio recorded lectures to review for exams

use audio tweet

This semester, Jonathan is taking a course in Programming Design Patterns. For that class, Jonathan relies on Evernote to record the lectures on his phone. When it’s time to study for exams, he re-listens to the lecture as a way to review the key points to keep the concepts fresh in his mind.

PRO TIP:  Use your phone, rather than your laptop, to record lectures. This prevents the microphone from picking up keyboard-tapping sounds as you type.

Tip #3: Scan study notes into Evernote so you can review them later on your phone


When it comes time to review for tests, Jonathan prefers to create handwritten study notes, which he then scans into Evernote. This ensures that he has everything backed up and always available on any device. Jonathan doesn’t need to remember how he’s organized his schoolwork anymore and struggled to remember, in fact, the last time he lost anything. “I’ve used Evernote for so long I can’t remember [the last time] I’ve lost something,” he laughs.

Last semester, for example, when Jonathan accidentally left his Calculus notebook (with his handwritten formula review notes) at home, Evernote came to the rescue. His panic-stricken gasp quickly turned into a sigh of relief after he realized he’d already scanned his review notes into Evernote.

PRO TIP:  Evernote Premium customers can get a more focused study experience, by viewing notes as a presentation on a phone or a laptop.

Tip #4: Create templates for recurring notes 

note templates

Jonathan designed a template for taking class notes that he reuses each class session. He added structure to his notes using tables. Jonathan’s template includes the following sections:

  • Resources: For useful links to online materials or attached files
  • Key points: For jotting down detailed lecture notes (feel free to resize the columns the way you’d like to)
  • Questions/Actions: For making a list of questions you’d like to research or ask the lecturer about later
  • Summary of notes: For highlights of a lecture, should be lecture, right? presented as an outline, or for attached PDFs of class slides

Create templates for recurring notes, such as meeting notes, rough drafts with project milestones, and project task lists. Each time you want to take some new notes, simply create a duplicate of the template note.

PRO TIP: No time to create your own class notes template? Use Jonathan’s! Save it to your Evernote account and reuse it as many times as you’d like.

study notes template

Tip #5: Use shared notebooks as a hub for group projects

group projects tweet

Jonathan genuinely believes in the ‘sharing is caring’ principle when it comes to sharing information with others. Last semester, he shared all his class notes (along with PDF code file) in a shared notebook with more than 80 of his classmates so they could also study them.

Jonathan discovered that shared notebooks are not only useful for sharing notes with others, but a good way for groups to collaborate together on a project. Last year, he shared a notebook with his project group, with ‘Can edit’ permissions. Anyone in the group could save project notes, resource links, and works in progress to this shared notebook.

“I’ve used Evernote for so long I can’t remember [the last time] I’ve lost something.”–Jonathan Copeland

Here are some examples of notes you can save to a shared project notebook:

  • A rubric describing the project and evaluation criteria
  • A task list, broken down by weeks as a way to track progress
  • Research articles from the web curated using Web Clipper
  • Rough drafts or question responses

PRO TIP: If your project group has been assigned a set of questions, divide them up among the group members—one single note per question. Once everyone completes their individual responses, merge all the notes together as a single note before turning it in.

Tip #6: Make Evernote a personal knowledge base for both academic and extracurricular notes


When he’s not studying, Jonathan has many other hobbies, activities, and responsibilities. He plays bass guitar in a band, volunteers as a video editor and designer for the university newspaper, and keeps himself busy with a bit of freelance app-design work. His Evernote account, as a result, includes an eclectic collection of notes, with guitar chords and audio recordings of all the songs his band plays, saved alongside video gaming notes.

Jonathan says that for him, “Evernote is a game changer—having all of my files and work in one easy-to-find location [where] everything’s backed up and easily accessible.”

PRO TIP: Keep reminder list notes of books you’d like to read, albums you’d like to buy, or films you’d like to watch. It’s easy to add new items to these lists from your phone, no matter where you are.

Follow Jonathan Copeland on Twitter @jmcopel


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17 Comments RSS

  • Giacomo Lawrance

    Thanks for this! Great post!

  • Trystan Rivers

    Wow what an inspirational story! With schools opening, these tips are sure to help students out.

  • Uffe

    Where is Tip #5?

    • prosen

      Uffe, Thanks for pointing out that something got lost as we posted! You’re an honorary Evernote Grammar Hawk! I’ve fixed the post to add in where Tip #5 is supposed to go! -Pam R

      • Uffe

        Thanks Pam 😉

  • Christy beastie

    great work!

  • steve

    Eligible college students only? I am an avid user of Evernote, and my middle-schooler would really benefit from becoming proficient at Premium. Currently with the free version, he uses it but not avidly. Having the discount to middle schoolers would be awesome (although, I realize that might cut into profits, and you likely assume that parents will buy for their kids – yes, but expensive to maintain 3 or 4 premium accounts).

  • Jonathan

    Is there any way high-school students can get a discount??? Please…

  • Bob Oertle

    Where does one find how to make folders and set up Evernote like shown in this article? Is a premium account required to make folders? All I can do it make a new note for each class date. I use my iPad with the app, but I also own an iMac 27, and a MacBook Pro if a computer is required to set up the templates. Been using Evernote for a couple of years, find it very difficult to navigate and keep things in order while taking 4 or more classes. By the way, College courses in this area typically begin August 15th.

    • Margot

      Hey Bob! By folders, are you talking about this dude’s notebook stacks shown in Tip#1? Notes go in notebooks and related notebooks go in notebook stacks, not a premium feature. You just drag and drop things. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to sift through without! Found this post by just googling “evernote organize notes” and there are many more –

  • Brian

    Great post. I was doing something similar for a while, but found myself wanting to print the formatted note (on a single, wysiwyg sheet of paper) So far, EVN has been slow to address this, but wondering if you found a work-around or just don’t print.

    • Brian

      OMG – Stop the press on my last reply in moderation… I should have tested before posting. When did that get fixed and I missed? YES!!! I’m in love again!

  • Peter Ryan

    Kudos and thanks to Jonathan.
    The tip “Use your phone, rather than your laptop, to record lectures.” never dawned on me.

  • Ed Bruehl

    Brilliant!… hope this goes viral with my daughters – going into high school. Thank you!

    • SiNing Chan

      A number of customers we’ve met have mentioned that they wish they had known about Evernote as students, so your kids will be off to a great start! For more tips on how to use Evernote w/students see our ‘Evernote for Students’ quick start guide:

  • Stan Martin

    Another tip for recordings is to do a separate recording for each subtopic within a lecture. That keeps you from having to scrub through a long lecture to find the part you want to review.

  • Carlos Sotelo Pinto

    I was looking for a good way to start my self learning with evernote, and this article was the best one.
    Great article