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4 Free Note-Taking Apps for IB Students

When I began the IBDP, I found that the note-taking method I had been using for years was not as effective as I knew it could be. As IB students, it is important to know how to take good notes, and technology gives us amazing resources to do so. For this reason, I have gathered some of my favourite free note-taking apps for you to succeed in the IB. 

OneNote (Microsoft)

  • Available for: iOS, Android, Windows
  • Price: Free

OneNote is the all-in-one digital notebook. By logging in with your Microsoft account, you can create different notebooks with color-coded sections to classify your notes by subject, topic or date. 

OneNote offers a range of formatting functions such as, but not limited to: highlight, draw (with the pointer), insert text block anywhere; and insert tables and audio files. Some of OneNote’s unique features are the File printout, where you can insert PDF documents as images for you to edit on, and Draw, to construct diagrams and mind maps with the computer pointer. The main downside of OneNote is that you can’t print out your notes or share your notes with others directly. 

Overall, OneNote feels like an actual physical binder, only with the convenience of digital note-taking. I have been using this programme since the beginning of my IB journey. My favourite characteristic of OneNote is the file print-out option, to complete worksheets and write on extensive PowerPoint presentations. 

This is how my English B notebook looks in OneNote: 


  • Available for: iOS, Android, Windows
  • Price: Free (in-app purchases)

Claimed by some as the best note-taking app, Evernote is a multi-purpose note taking app with a beautiful layout. Apart from the formatting options that I’ve mentioned when talking about OneNote, Evernote has a variety of templates for every occasion, such as Cornell note-taking, journaling and business planning. 

Given that this app is designed from a business perspective, it does not offer many add-ons from a normal document (in its free status) when it comes to note-taking, apart from the mentioned above. 

When writing this article, I did not consider mentioning this app because I have yet to try it. However, a few of my friends recommended this platform to me because of its powerful search engine. 

Apple Notes

  • Available for: iOS only
  • Price: Free

The built-in notes app in Apple devices is amazing for quick lazy notes. From to-do lists to diagrams, Apple Notes allows you to write anything down while keeping the minimalism that characterises the iOS software. It is specially useful when you don’t have access to a navigator, app or WiFi connection. You can also sketch and scan documents, and paste links and locations as well. Given that it is an iOS software, Apple Notes is compatible to share your notes across all your devices for easy access. Unlike the previous apps, Apple Notes cannot do much more in the note taking department. 

I use this app to take notes on my MacBook when the internet access is limited, to then transfer them into a neater version in OneNote. Here are some of my quick notes from English B and Biology.


  • Available for: iOS, Android, Windows
  • Price: Free

Although I use this app for time management and planning, Notion possesses a singular note-taking system suitable for students. Notion offers many formatting tools e.g. highlight, check boxes, images through a block system. The block system allows you to insert a type of item that can be customized on its own. 

The only inconvenience of Notion is that it is not an intuitive software, whereas the other apps mentioned are. Due to its system in blocks, it is quite hard to accommodate many note-taking styles such as mind-maps and diagrams.

I would like to remind you that not all note-taking methods work for everyone. People are different, and that’s okay! Therefore, the apps I have recommended might not suit you as much as they have for me. Make sure you find your own style of note-taking and the perfect application to support it. I hope this article has given you a head start!

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