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Dibs
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« on: January 18, 2024 @702.78 »

I'm an astrophysics student, which means a terrible combination of words, graphs, and maths, so I rely pretty heavily on paper when I'm in lectures. However, my current method can be summarised as "write down what is on the powerpoint, and then only refer to the powerpoints when revising", which is what many would call "a bad method" and "missing the point of lecture notes". I would probably agree. The main pro is that I'm much worse at processing speech than writing, and writing stuff out helps commit it to memory. The main downside is everything else. I've ridden this train as far as it'll take me, and now I need to find a new system for the coming (busy as hell) semester.

My point of discussion is this: What note-taking "system" do you use, and how do you find using it? How versatile for different uses (personal note-keeping, STEM vs humanities, scheduling)? And do you supplement it with another system upon review?

For example, one thing I'm considering is using two pens to make brief notes on what each slide is about with comments in the second colour with details from the lecture itself, highlighting especially the important equations. Then I'd try to use these notes and the slides online to make long-form reference notes on Notion so that everything is in one place and in order. I'm already using Notion to organise everything else I'm doing, so that last step feels like a good option, but I'm less set on the paper stage!
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2024 @789.87 »

My system may not be exactly what you're looking for because I rarely take hand-written notes, but I use Obsidian for basically everything and it really works well for me. Obsidian is similar to Notion in a lot of ways, but I've found it to be extremely easy to jot down quick notes in Obsidian without worrying about organization, and then be able to quickly come back and organize my notes later so they fall into a more coherent and reusable system. I tried Notion and it felt a little paralyzing because I felt like everything had to be put in the right place from the beginning in order to stay organized, whereas with Obsidian I feel like I can just dump my thoughts and raw notes into it and then find a place for things when I have time.

The main selling point with Obsidian is that it can be as lightweight or as robust as you need it to be, because it's highly configurable. I believe there are even plugins that allow you to convert handwritten notes to a text note? But I can't speak to how well that works since I've never used those.

Anyway, I know this isn't quite what you're describing, but that last part may be worth looking into!

Quick edit: Also, +1 for writing being more helpful for retaining information than just processing what you hear. I'm the exact same way. For the longest time I just thought I had horrible memory, but I've started keeping notes when I'm listening to presentations at work and it reeeally helps my ability to remember things.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2024 @791.84 by Gloogo » Logged

Dibs
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2024 @839.92 »

I use Obsidian for basically everything and it really works well for me. Obsidian is similar to Notion in a lot of ways, but I've found it to be extremely easy to jot down quick notes in Obsidian without worrying about organization, and then be able to quickly come back and organize my notes later so they fall into a more coherent and reusable system. I tried Notion and it felt a little paralyzing because I felt like everything had to be put in the right place from the beginning in order to stay organized, whereas with Obsidian I feel like I can just dump my thoughts and raw notes into it and then find a place for things when I have time.

I saw Obsidian while I was researching for Notion! It looks quite interesting and the plugins are really cool (I'm a sucker for a mind-map). On Notion I'm using a second brain template which has an inbox section I'm using to dump quick notes and tasks, while also having an annoying little 'inbox' status that prompts me to actually move them to the relevant places later on. If it weren't for that I'd probably let them pile up without addressing them, as is my habit...

Also, +1 for writing being more helpful for retaining information than just processing what you hear. I'm the exact same way. For the longest time I just thought I had horrible memory, but I've started keeping notes when I'm listening to presentations at work and it reeeally helps my ability to remember things.

I know right? I think it's the combination of visual memory and having to re-articulate things, forcing you to process them meaningfully. That being said when I'm copying entire slides I end up tuning out the lecturer entirely... It's a fine line!
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alexela64
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2024 @885.98 »

I'm a humanities/journalism student, so I've always taken notes by hand. Not only because it's topical, but also because I just remember things better that way. :ozwomp:

My main thing is, I don't copy powerpoints. I find that I process things better with the background info given in lectures. So I write down the most important points of what I hear, not what I see. I will add copied slide notes if they are essential to understanding things.

I feel that a lot of people take notes on the individual lecture, whereas i try to take notes on the /subject/.

Besides this being a skill that's just really important to have for someone in my field, I think it also helps with general active listening. I would highly suggest it if it's a viable option for anyone.

In an effort to save paper, though (since i write about a metric ton every semester), I limit myself to one or two notebooks. I write the course code/number on the upper left margin, and draw a divider when switching classes on the same page.
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larvapuppy
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2024 @34.40 »

My system is: take really quick, scribbly notes by hand when in class. That way I have all the material I need for reference later. I will often make a neat & organized copy of the notes with full sentences, extra information and explanations in my own words as a study method for later. I format these like I'm teaching the material to myself / explaining it to myself and it helps reinforce my understanding. Plus it's nice to have something neat to reference as well.
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Dibs
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2024 @25.00 »

My main thing is, I don't copy powerpoints. I find that I process things better with the background info given in lectures. So I write down the most important points of what I hear, not what I see. I will add copied slide notes if they are essential to understanding things.
Yeah, this is the lesson I have learnt the hard way aaaaaaaaaa :ozwomp:

I feel that a lot of people take notes on the individual lecture, whereas i try to take notes on the /subject/.
I'm currently reeling from an exam featuring an entire question on something we were given two slides on in a powerpoint which was edited to add them weeks after the lecture (incredible psychic damage, may never recover), which leads me to believe this may not be the approach for my course, but I can see how humanities and journalism lend themselves to a more connection-and-context-based approach. Being able to link things back to the big picture can really help with both learning and memorisation, and I know that the revision period is usually when things click into place for this very reason!

In an effort to save paper, though (since i write about a metric ton every semester), I limit myself to one or two notebooks. I write the course code/number on the upper left margin, and draw a divider when switching classes on the same page.
I do a similar thing by the sounds of it, code and lecture title at the top, but I make a new page when switching because the notebook gets very jumbled as time goes on so I move the pages into folders with dividers by module at the end of the semester. I also separate lecture notes from problem sheets/working out to keep things cleaner.

I format these like I'm teaching the material to myself / explaining it to myself and it helps reinforce my understanding.
Teaching is definitely the best form of learning in my experience. Sometimes I go on walks just to have the brainspace to 'talk' through stuff to myself.


One note-taking system I've come across recently is the Cornell system. It is essentially just having a wide margin on one side to call out recall prompts, keywords, and example questions, and then putting the actual (short) notes in line in the main section. Then at the end, you make a summary!
I'm not sure this system would work very smoothly for my lectures, but maybe it would work for some of you!
I might try to adjust it for the ways my course is often taught...
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alexela64
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2024 @814.44 »

I'm currently reeling from an exam featuring an entire question on something we were given two slides on in a powerpoint which was edited to add them weeks after the lecture (incredible psychic damage, may never recover),
yikes that is. terrible. I feel like you also have to account for the different ways in which profs teach/test - like if they will take things off the ppt, obviously make sure you get that. That just sounds like theyre not on top of their stuff, which is always annoying :drat:
One note-taking system I've come across recently is the Cornell system.
I've tried the cornell system and it doesn't necessarily work for me, but I feel like it might work better for a numbers/math class. Idk tho :ohdear:
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BlazingCobaltX
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2024 @469.24 »

As a former social sciences student, my system was as follows:
  • During lectures I would mostly write down what the lecturer was telling rather than what was written on the sheet. The sheet info is what I used to structure my notes at that moment, but my intention was always to rewrite them later.
  • When exam period would roll around and I now knew all required study materials, I would write clean summaries, synthesising my lecture notes and reading materials into one narrative.
  • Finally, for actual studying I would read through the whole thing one time and mark keywords yellow or green. Each consecutive reading I would only read the marked words and figure out the rest of the story from there.
This system worked for me because I have a strong associative memory. For my statistics courses I did something similar and it worked out well also, in addition to constant practice.

Now that I am in fulltime employment I have abandoned this system, as I noticed that you do not need to remember everything that is told to you. For this purpose I bought a erasable notebook, so I can keep notes of things until I am done with them without wasting any paper. The downside of this is that, as there is no time (or purpose) to do any proper note taking, some information that I want to retain sort of disappears.

EDIT: Probably important to add that I wrote everything by hand. Typing stuff does nothing for my memory retention. So I would write notebooks full of summaries around each exam period. My hand would hurt at the end of it, but I think it really did wonders for my memory retention because you could quiz me on first-year materials and I would still know.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2024 @489.22 by BlazingCobaltX » Logged
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