Obsidian for students?

Hi all! Just started using Obsidian and I’m already obsessed with it. I’m hoping to use it in conjunction with the Zettlekasten method for school-related studying (in high school at the moment), academic self-enrichment and personal life management (journalling, hobby projects, etc.).

So I have a few questions I was hoping you guys could weigh in on:

  • How do you separate your vaults? By subject? Perhaps one vault to rule them all?
  • How do you decide when to start a new note? A note for every topic? A note for every source with the info you managed to glean from it? Do you perhaps have long “master notes” containing all the info you’ve gathered on a topic and then extract segments for zettels afterwards?

Any input would be much appreciated! If anyone could share their workflow/setup that’d be great too. Thanks :slight_smile:

I only have one vault, with subfolders representing subjects. I might have to put subfolders inside subfolders, depending on the situation. This has some pros and cons:


  • Easy to see a representation in graph view
  • Able to switch between notes quickly
  • Able to interlink through notes of (almost) unrelated subjects


  • Hard to navigate
  • Planning out folder structure can take quite a long time

My advice is to have a vault for every main subject, and have some (but not too much) subfolders.

I usually write a note for every key topic or new idea. Sometimes, I might piece together multiple sources into one note. I also add table of content notes, although this isn’t that necessary.

This is all how mine notes work, so this may not be optimal. I switched to Obsidian halfway through the creation of my notes vault, so some details weren’t specifically planned. But, I’m satisfied with my result.


Hi! Based on the pros and cons you’ve outlined I think I’ll give the one major vault thing a try because I’d like the quick switching and interlinking. The table of content notes sounds useful too so that’s something I’ll be trying to implement! Thanks so much for your reply!

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How I do tables of content, you might find it useful:

Let’s say I have a class called Psychology. I’d create a subfolder called Psychology and create notes around that subject in that folder. I’d then create a new note called _index_psychology and put it into that folder as well, and I’d link to every other note there. That file will be at the top of the subfolder when viewed from Obsidian (since it begins with _). I could search for it from anywhere (Ctrl+O, followed by _psyc) and see all the notes I have associated with that subject.

If the number of notes in that subfolder becomes large (15+ notes), I’d group them in my _index_<topic> note by using subheadings, and put the notes that don’t fit into any other group under the “Misc” subheading.

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You may want to rethink your use of the underscore character as the leading character in file names. It will render everything following it as italicized until another underscore is encountered. There are also other characters commonly used in article/book names and such that (like colon, apostrophe) that are not allowed in file names by Obsidian.

In my case, I have settled on the section symbol (§) as the leading character of a file name to force it to the head of the list.


Thanks a lot for the suggestion! I’ve started using this method for indexes and I’m very happy with the navigability and organisation it allows for :smiley:

As someone who is pretty new to markdown this is a helpful tip for me as well, so thanks for your input!

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I’m also a student and I use index pages to solve this problem. So my vault looks like this:
000_Index: including other index pages
001_Course1: Information about this course, including reference books, the progress, the homeworks, MAIN results in this course(because I just can’t add every note here), etc.
Main Results: usual notes, they may link to other smaller results.

So after a class, I would go over my course note, create notes in Obsidian, and update course index page. When I need to review the courses, I go to the index page and go over MAIN results.

I hope this is helpful.

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My understanding of obsidian’s concept is that I can relate all kinds of knowledge to one another.

  • in physics I learned about SI-Units such as candela (light intensity).
  • in chemistry I learned about reactions requiring light to occur.

If I had these two notes in different vaults I’d have to either copy the notes about SI-Units into my chemistry vault or “manually link”/write down where to search in it in my physics vault.

Both defeats the purpose of using obsidian in the first place doesn’t it? That’s the main reason I use one vault for everything in my Biology degree. Inside the vault I then use tags to differenciate between subjects for studying for tests. Aside from the tags though, I try to link as subject-ignorant as possible to further my understanding of biology and nature as a whole instead of falling into the “learning for tests and not for life” pitfall that I fell into heavily in earlier education.