The Best College Student Note Taking Apps for iPad Pro & Apple Pencil

The best note taking apps for iPad Pro with Apple pencil for college students.

College Note Taking Apps iPad GoodNotes Notability

On this blog post, I’m sharing the best college note-taking apps for iPad! My iPad has become my best friend to take notes in college. It is faster to type and draw during lectures, especially when some of my teachers love to talk and write fast. I use the apple pencil and an iPad case keyboard.

Popular Note-Taking Tutorials:

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1. Notability

The ability to record, draw and take notes makes this app my favorite. This app stands out because it allows me to move my drawings freely (unlike other apps) and the recording option is phenomenal. Even if you seat in the back of the classroom the instructor’s voice sounds clear when you playback the recording.

How to Use Notability, How to Take College Notes, Digital Bullet Journal, Digital Planner

The cool thing is that when you are drawing or taking notes, the recording also adds this to your notes. Hand-writing with this app is amazing and the notes look so neat and organize. Here is a small video I made using the app Notability. Check out this tutorial to learn how to take college notes using the Notability app.

How to Use Notability, How to Take College Notes, Digital Bullet Journal, Digital Planner

2. GoodNotes

GoodNotes is my favorite app for digital planning and note-taking. The app is easy to use and the tools are simple. Between Notability and GoodNotes, I prefer GoodNotes. Here are some examples of how I use the app to take college notes:

iPad note taking college notes GoodNotes

Check out this tutorial to learn how to decorate a digital planner in the GoodNotes app.

iPad note taking college notes GoodNotes

Notability doesn’t allow you to move several elements at the same time, you can only move text or image. GoodNotes allows you to select which elements you want to move, for example only handwriting and text. The image below shows which tool allows you to easily select specific things on the page.

iPad note taking college notes GoodNotes

3. ZoomNotes

ZoomNotes is another great app to take college notes. The app has a lot of tools and learning how to use them can be overwhelming. I tried it, but I didn’t stick with it. There is a free version of the app in the app store, I suggest you download it and give a try. It’s easy to read a review about an app, but it’s different once you try it on your iPad.

iPad note taking college notes ZoomNotes

iPad note taking college notes ZoomNotes

4. Word:

This app is awesome for taking notes. Recently the option to draw was added to the application, but it is extremely limited, you can’t rotate or resize the drawings. This app does not come with the ability to record a voice, which is a bummer since typing with this app is so efficient.  If you want to learn to take efficient notes using Microsoft Word, click here.

 Comparison between Word and Notability:

Best Notetaking iPad Apps for school college

5. OneNote

This app is similar to Word, but you have the ability to draw and record your lecture. If you are looking for a simple note-taking app, this one is for you! The drawing option impressed me, it doesn’t detect your palm and drawing on the screen feels smooth.

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6. A similar app to this OneNote is Outline. It gives you the option to draw and type images on the screen, but it does not support the Apple Pencil, which is a huge deal when you need to draw figures or graphs during the lecture.

Which iPad Pro app with Apple pencil was your favorite to take college notes?

If you want to learn about digital planners and bullet journaling join my Facebook group! Readers from all over the world share their bullet journal and digital planner spreads. It’s amazing to learn from other people that share a common interest.

Thank you for stopping by! Check out my collection of FREE Bullet Journal Printables and digital planners & stickers.♡


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  1. These are all great apps and I’ve tried them all. Of course, I use Word more often when it comes to writing papers (I think we all do). I primarily use OneNote because I’m in the Microsoft eco-system of apps and services and I also use a Surface Pro 3. It’s quite good when you use the pen!

    As for the iPad, I think Word is great with it! Do you use a keyboard with your iPad?