Note Taking and Organization

<p>I've been thinking a lot about how to take notes during college. My high school note-taking experience was not great. I took notes basically when I felt like, and they weren't great notes; my backpack was a perpetual mess. I'm trying to come up with a solid organization plan for college but am having trouble.</p>

<p>Does anyone have any ideas for organizing notes and schoolwork? Should I type notes on the laptop or go with pen and paper? What about those LiveScribe pens or other new technologies? Do they work well? If I do take notes with pen and paper, what sort of organization works best (i.e. one large binder for each class, folders, just spiral notebooks)? Should I expect very few or a lot of paper handouts? If it helps, my current major is Physiology and Neurobiology and I'm thinking of switching into bioengineering, so I will be taking a lot of math and science. </p>

<p>Thanks in advance!</p>

<p>I would discourage the note-taking on a laptop. I don't think I've ever seen anyone that brings a laptop to class actually use it for note-taking. Usually, they just surf the web the whole time. Also, if you're taking a bunch of math classes, typing it out really won't be very efficient. Go with pen and paper. </p>

<p>I bring a binder filled with loose-leaf paper and take notes in there, but I've never seen anyone else do this. Most people just bring a spiral notebook and take notes. Carry a folder around with you in case you get handouts, but most classes have few if any. I also haven't seen anyone use the LiveScribe pens, so I can't really comment on that. Realistically though, if you pay attention, it shouldn't be hard to get everything written down with just pen and paper. If you miss something, you have a textbook to refer back to, and if needed, you can always ask the professor during office hours.</p>

<p>Mostly I take notes in my notebook, but in one of my classes last semester I took notes on my laptop...it worked amazingly. As long as you're disciplined to not go on Facebook or something, it's much easier than writing in a notebook. I was able to catch everything the professor said, and change things with ease. If it's a super boring class though you'll probably browse the Internet, so I'd recommend doing it with a class you're interested in. I didn't browse once the whole semester.</p>

<p>I think loose leaf paper, perhaps in a folder, to bring to class, then organize the notes in a binder, along with any handouts from the class. Whether you use one big binder, or several smaller binders, one for each class, is a matter of personal preference, although you might find it easier and more successful, given how you described your hs notetaking, to have a binder for each class, at least in the beginning. Good luck.</p>

<p>Early in the semester, ID someone around you in each of your classes who appears to be a great notetaker around you in class (preferably one who looks least likely to skip classes) and trade contact info....who knows when you'll need to borrow notes (or vice versa). Pick someone of the opposite sex for more interesting outcomes.....</p>

<p>A tip that I used way back in the dinosaur ages that at least one D has done.....when in a boring class when really, really trying to stay awake, make an effort to write down EVERYTHING the prof says. Then, later, rewrite your notes so that you can read them (as you'll probably be scribbling). Ds both agree that most of the time people on laptops esp. in large lecture classes are mostly playing Farmville or otherwise on Facebook, instead of paying attention.</p>

<p>DH just finished a graduate degree and was surprised at the number of people who hadn't checked out the profs websites, a couple of whom had their entire lectures/powerpoint slides on their websites. He printed them off before class and then just took notes on those.</p>

<p>Quick tip I learned in high school: For any math, physics, or even chemistry based courses, take your notes on either blank or graph paper. No one wants to write large fractions in those wide-rules loose leaf sheets, let alone college-ruled.</p>