A Must-have for College Students: Top 7 Note-Taking App Recommendation!

Hello. We are Flexcil. There are a few ways to characterize the lives of Gen-Z college students these days, and the ubiquity of digital devices stands most prominently. Given the fact that current college students have grown up with a lot of exposure to online media, many share the tendency to use the internet for a wide range of activities including but not limited to school, extracurriculars, and entertainment. However, a lot of students have started to prioritize school over their leisure lives to boost their resumes for the job market. To that end, they have placed mounting significance on their own efficiency while studying and in effect, more and more students have been preferring the use of iPads and tablet PC’s to bolster their productivity. Many students have been looking for note-taking apps that can aid their learning processes, especially for pre-professional classes which require them to take notes on PDF files or craft their own unique notes. So today, we’d like to recommend a few note-taking apps that can enhance the quality of education for all of you college students. We will introduce you to the top 7 note-taking apps, then proceed to compare and contrast their distinct features. With any of these apps, we can ensure a productive and happy college life for all of you. Let us begin. 


nebo Let us introduce you to Nebo, a note-taking app that has recently acquired fame from being included in the LG Velvet. The Nebo app comes in 66 different languages and esteems itself with the world’s most accurate handwriting recognition function among all note-taking apps. Converting handwriting to text The biggest characteristic of Nebo is the feature that converts handwritten notes into text. Obviously, you could choose to not have your handwritten notes automatically change into text from your settings. Because Nebo converts everything into text by default, you can record simple memo’s in the form of text. Furthermore, using the Nebo app, you can not only convert handwriting but you can also convert equations into text. Indeed, it is inconvenient to have to write equations using text instead of writing it by hand. Using the Nebo app, you can easily convert handwritten equations into text, which makes the app especially popular among students who have to write a lot of equations.
The pro version features A huge advantage of Nebo is that it can move notes into iCloud or Google Drive much more quickly than the other apps. If you upgrade to the pro version, you can have a stronger memo organization and export function. Furthermore, you have access to the search function, the dictionary tool, and a variety of diagrams. Nebo app is most appropriate for short memos so it might not be the best for someone who hopes to use it to create timetables, schedules, diaries, or school notes.


liquidtext Mind Map feature LiquidText has its own unique layout compared to the other note-taking apps. It is called the Mind Map structure. The biggest advantage of LiquidText is that you can use the Mind Map structure to read PDFs and move excerpts into workspace.
Using this feature, you can freely move around PDF content, which makes it easy to organize important notes that need to be reviewed. Apart from this feature, a lot of students favor this app because they can simultaneously take notes using the Mind Map structure and view the PDF.  However, it is true that the pen sensitivity/recognition is weaker compared to the other apps, so if you want neat and pretty notes, this may not be your best choice. You can use the free version as well as the premium version. 

Goodnotes 5

goodnotes 5 Neat and easy handwriting, a variety of templates available Goodnotes 5 is a very famous iPad note-taking app among iPad users. Goodnotes 5 is esteemed for how neat and easy it is to take notes using the pens available. A lot of people use this app to write diaries, organize their schedules, or keep a financial ledger. This is because the app has a variety of templates as well as a lot of convenient designs to that end. Also, Goodnotes 5 allows for more detailed thickness and color adjustments in comparison to the other apps.
The lasso tool When taking notes using an iPad, there are many instances when you have to take notes by hand, insert images, add textboxes, etc. When you either want to move all of these things at once or only move a select portion, you can take advantage of the lasso tool available in the app. Furthermore, the app includes a search feature that can help you browse through your PDF files to locate the word you are looking for. Also, Goodnotes 5 can recognize your handwriting relatively better when using the search function. We recommend Goodnotes 5 to someone who wants nice and easy handwriting or someone who wants to use a variety of templates.


flexcil Next, we have Flexcil, the best PDF note-taking app for college students. PDF note-taking app for effective learning  Flexcil is a note-taking app that a lot of college students favor for taking PDF notes. Even objectively speaking, the reason why Flexcil is so popular is because you can put the textbook in the note app and freely take note on the PDF files.
The gesture feature and the two page viewer feature The Flexcil app has a lot of features but one of the big advantages of the app is the gesture feature. Using the gesture feature alone, you could look up a word on the dictionary, use the copy function, or even capture an image to the size of your choosing. Also, the two page viewer feature is something that cannot be found in Goodnotes 5 or Notability. The two page viewer feature allows you to view your files like a physical book and take notes efficiently. Is it possible to annotate on the PDF files while also taking separate notes? It is in Flexcil. You can freely move around the note memo across the PDF files however you wish. Finally, Flexcil supports pens and highlighters with a variety of styles. You can freely adjust the colors and thicknesses of your pens, and you could even pin your favorite pens so that you can have access to your most used pens with a single click. Compared to the two preceding apps, Flexcil can be used either in the free version or in the standard version after the ten-day free trial.

PDF Expert

pdf expert Variety of features available for PDF applications The PDF Expert app provides a wide array of features for handling PDFs. Using the PDF editing feature, you can add pages as well as add or delete text wherever you want. You can also edit the images within the PDF document however you wish. In short, you can edit any part of a PDF document.
Memo, Highlight Collection feature The PDF Expert app provides a collective review function. You can review all the parts you took notes on or highlighted while taking notes. This feature can be used during exam season when you need to review all the important parts at once. The PDF Expert app supports a wide array of protocols. Because the app enables synchronizing from, to, and between a number of apps like Dropbox, Google, Box, OneDrive, and SharePoint, you can edit files as freely as you wish across these different applications. We want to recommend this note-taking app for those who use PDF files and want strong editing features. You can either use the free version or purchase the premium version.


noteshelf Outstanding note-taking experience We assume there are a lot of people who have been disappointed by the writing sensation while using a note-taking app. Noteshelf has the most positive reviews in terms of taking handwritten notes. Specifically, a lot of people command Noteshelf for its natural writing feel as it almost emulates the experience of using a classic ink pen on paper. Like Goodnotes 5, everything is written in your own handwriting without any editing by default. Because of this characteristic, you feel like you are writing on physical paper while using the app.
Voice memo record feature The Noteshelf app also has the feature that allows you to take notes while also recording. You can add voice memos and play it any time you wish by easily locating your pinned sections. This feature can definitely be useful for school lectures, but it is definitely not as high quality as Notability.
It is hard to find reviews on this app because there are not as many users for the app as the other apps but it definitely has the most positive reviews for its writing sensation. This app is not only supported for iPads (ios) but also for Androids.


notability Recording feature The biggest characteristic of Notability is being able to add audio to your notes. In Notability, voice memos are linked to your annotation, which means it has the benefit of being able to catch on points you could have missed while taking notes. The audio notes are effective when you are reviewing your notes because you can record and annotate important parts of the lecture simultaneously. You can also take advantage of the play function, adjust-the-playback-speed function, and skip-10-seconds function within the recorded files.
Neat and intuitive interface Notability also has the convenience of having a neat and intuitive interface.  You can view two files at once using the dual screen function and you can search for handwriting text using the search function. Notability also lets you set a password on your notes. I recommend this app for anyone who wants to organize important notes by putting a lock on it. Although Notability does not have as many different templates as Goodnotes 5, we recommend the app for anyone looking for an app that is easy to take notes with and has the additional record function. 
Today, we examined a number of iPad note-taking apps for college students.
Among the various note-taking apps, we took a closer look at the 7 most famous apps.
  • If you want pretty notes or want to create diaries and schedules using various templates, choose Goodnotes 5.
  • If you want to study using the recording feature, choose Notability.
  • If you want to take notes or annotate on PDFs, choose Flexcil.
If you want to take advantage of the equation conversion tool, use Nebo. If you want to organize the most important sections using the Mind Map, choose LiquidText. If you want to edit PDFs across various platforms, choose PDF Expert. If you want your writing to feel like you are writing on bare paper, choose Noteshelf. If you had to choose one app among the rest, we would like to recommend Flexcil for its wide array of applications. (disclaimer: this is NOT, at all, because I am a Flexcil editor)
We hope that you can choose your ideal note-taking app by identifying which app fits your needs best.