Had a fellow reader ask me this question over facebook this morning, and I thought…hey, this is kinda blog worthy!
It took me a while to figure out what my style of note taking was, and it is really up to your learning style!
The way I see it, there’s the old fashion ‘let’s print out all the lectures and hand write!’ and there’s the modern way of ‘let’s do it all on the computer!’.
1) Let’s print out all the lectures and hand write notes!
So I started out first year printing out all the lecture notes, and realised 4 weeks in that it wasn’t going to work out for me. It was a challenging managing/storing/filing all the paper. And if you need to search through your notes for a particular topic, you will have to flip through so many pages to find the lecture, find the page etc. It just got really messy.
But in saying that, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid handwriting notes! Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE the old fashion way of handwriting notes.
And I probably wiped out a big chunk of forest just to print out one week’s worth of lecture notes!
If you are considering this way of note taking, here is how I organised my notes back then.
I would go down to Officeworks/Big W (did you know Big W has a really good range of stationary? And it’s cheaper than officeworks too! And no – Big W did not pay me to rave about them!), and buy some big 4 ring folders, a hole puncher, plastic pockets, and some 12 tab dividers.
4 rings folders because if you get a 2 or 3 ring folder, I doubt that it will be strong enough. And why 12 tab dividers? Because there are 12 weeks of uni! The only brand that I’m aware of that makes 12 tab dividers is Marbig (Big W sells them!). Plastic pockets are handy for those loose sheets of paper that you don’t know what to do with!
So what I would do is print out my lecture notes, punch holes, and file them in the week that the lecture was given.
2) Note taking on the computer
Me, being the environmentalist activist, decided to try bringing my laptop into uni and typing up my notes straight onto the lecture pdfs instead of killing another 1000 trees. And it worked really well for me because it was easy to organise the notes!
This is an example of how I organise my lectures notes on my laptop. (If you’re curious, this was for BIOL10004).
So I would have a folder named ‘BIOL10005’ on my desktop. Then I would have sub-folders for lectures notes/online recordings/worksheets/exams etc. For lecture notes, I would divide them up to the weeks (we have 12 weeks of uni), then save the pdfs to the folder.
And how do you write notes onto the pdf you ask?
You can also highlight texts, and make little comments (see 2).
Sorry the numbering is a bit out of sync!
Another thing! Here is how I take notes during tutes.
I only found that you can do this on Microsoft Word late semester 2! So if you open up Microsoft Word, and click the last tab on the bottom left (see 1). This notebook format opens up! You can also record by clicking on the red circle button (see 2). And you can create new tabs for each tute on your bottom right (see 3).
Pretty cool hey!?
Also! I’ve had a number of questions about laptop charging! There are secure laptop charging lockers in union house (read more here), and I would always just charge my laptop during tutorials or during my lunch break.
3) A combination of both!
After testing both note taking styles in first year, I will be trialing out something new this year! So what I will be trying, is to take all my lecture and tutorial notes on my computer, AND keeping a notebook with handwritten notes as well. With the notebook, I will be integrating all the lecture/tutorial/readings together. So I won’t be re-writing out lecture notes, but I will be creating ‘master’ notes, and putting everything into my own words. (I hope this makes sense!)
At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of trial and error, and testing out to see what suits you!
Do you have a different way of organising your lecture notes, or any other tips? I would love to hear from you!
Hope this post helps you!