Solution for taking notes in class?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by G5Unit, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. G5Unit macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2005
    I'm calling the cops
    I've come to the conclusion that writing down notes in class just isn;t working out for me. I don;t retain much of what I write down at all and it''s very difficult to go back and find anything.

    So I was wondering what everyone out there does to make taking notes easier?

    I want to go with some sort of computer, but I can't decide between a tablet or netbook.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    What sort of class are you taking? There are some classes where a computer would be pretty much useless.

    I knew somebody who had a digital pen, which was quite cool.

    That said, I'd wait a little while and see what comes out tablet-wise.
  3. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    Do you just have to note down text, or diagrams and the like?
  4. 7thMac macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2010
    Consider using a more structured approach. An example is the Cornell note-taking system.
  5. Tyler23 macrumors 603


    Dec 2, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    I've historically been a pencil & paper note taker, but starting this upcoming semester (second semester of Junior year in University) I'll be taking notes primarily on my MBP, unless it's a math class or in a similar vain where it'd just be too difficult to find/use different symbols/drawings on the computer.

    Not sure what app to use though. Not a fan of textedit at all and Word is so bloated. It's a pain just opening it up.
  6. LeighAnna Jones macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2010
    Well, I have a notebook for each class.

    For example, Math. You write down your math notes in your math notebook.

    So on and so on.

    If you just keep all your notebooks together then you can stay way more organized. And you can't really loose any notes unless you rip them out of the notebook.

    Hey; it's a whole lot cheaper then a laptop.

    But if you want a device; get the laptop. It would be a pain in the buttox to take notes on a touchscreen tablet.
  7. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    Get the Laptop. On my Mac, all my notes are indexed in spotlight, so I just search a word and see where it is in my notes. :)
  8. Pink∆Floyd macrumors 68020


    Nov 21, 2009
    Up There
    My solution was to bring a couple of post it notes to class and jot down little pieces of info and then go over them later. It worked for me.

    But, if you're talking about Math class, I'd stick with my regular sized notebook.
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    For maths: paper and multi-colour pen.

    For everything else: I didn't take notes and learned from the textbook. The only reason I went to class is not to learn and remember everything mentioned during a lecture, but to make the topics discussed look more familiar to me so that when I look at my textbook, I'm not in complete shock. :p

    And I felt guilty for not taking notes at first, but I never looked at my notes again while studying or doing assignments, so why bother?
  10. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2004
    Hudson Valley NY
    You just need to learn how to organize your paper notes. Computers are a pain to take notes on.
  11. impulse462 macrumors 68000


    Jun 3, 2009
    It also kind of depends on the teacher and what they put on their tests.

    If they ask you questions about what THEY talk about as opposed to focusing the exam on the textbook, then you should take clear notes.

    Until very recently I used to write down my notes in classes like Bio and chem, but I discovered that for bio, i'd get bored and my handwriting would just not end up great and I couldn't even read it, so I plan on taking notes on my computer this semester so I dont get screwed on the tests.
  12. G5Unit thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2005
    I'm calling the cops
    I wouldn't being using this for anything math related, just theology, english, and microeconomics.
  13. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    I recommend a tablet.
  14. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
  15. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    Below, is possibly the best device for your needs.


    • Simple and easy to use.
    • Responsive to your every touch.
    • No restrictions on how you set out your notes. Wherever you hand goes, the ink goes.
    • Say goodbye to compatibility problems. Your notes are easily sharable with anyone.
    • No battery means that this device is available at any time it is required. No need to charge, no boot time. It's on all the time.
    • Cheap and easily replaceable. Say goodbye to folking out insurance money for a flimsy tablet.
    • Buying the 'folder' extra enhances the note organisation features.

    Seriously though, I've seen many people buy a special gizmo for note taking and have spent half their time in class just ass-****ing around with it rather than note taking. When it comes to note taking, something simple and non-distracting of often the best way to go. I blitzed away at college with the pen and paper device.

    Go on. Treat yourself. Get the pen and paper now. Only around £1.50 in most stationary stores.
  16. hazza.jockel macrumors 6502

    Aug 2, 2008
    in a swag
    I used to take notes using pen/paper in lectures but after 1 and 1/2 years i realised that i never looked back at them or they were too messy. So last semester i stopped taking notes all together. Worked wonders. :D

    If your uni is like me in that they put all the lecture slides on the internet after the lecture you could try not taking notes at all and just using the slides they put up.
  17. MCMarshall macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2010
    It absolutely amazes me that we go on about all this technical innovation constantly and we still haven't really found a way to improve on the traditional pen & paper. I'm a Computer Science student and do one of the following:

    - Dell 11" laptop with One Note. Simply the best software for note taking so far.

    - MBP with lecture already downloaded and annotate them.

    - Rely on a piece of paper.

    - Get distracted on either laptop and end up not concentrating.
  18. stonyc macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2005
    Try this.
  19. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    When I went through school, I found that handwriting with note paper and pen was a mixed bag: the act of writing things down helped me learn (muscle memory, as it were) but it also kept me always lagging behind by a few minutes. The prof would be talking about something new and I would be struggling to listen to what he was explaining while also simultaneously trying to catch up on a backlog of notes that I had to have written down before he changed the acetate or erased the blackboard.

    At one point everyone started using PowerPoint but I found that also to be a mixed bag for different reasons! Since all the slides were there already it was tempting to not take (m)any notes or even not pay attention at all ("well, I can just look at the slides later"). Having the slides given to you (printed or downloaded) made it too easy to assume you've got it covered. On the other hand, it allowed me to focus on the professor and what was being talked about.

    I think ultimately it depends on the subject. Any subject that relies heavily on math and/or diagrams (such as math, physics, music, or a UML modelling class) I would take notes with a pen and paper. A subject that is more suited to taking actual "notes" (literature, social sciences, etc.) I might be tempted to bring a small laptop.

    I have taken short notes at a seminar with my iPad before. It can work, but it's not very fun.
  20. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    When I started graduate school back in '99, I discovered that I couldn't write down everything my Economics professor said quickly enough. Knowing I could type faster than I could write, I bought a laptop to take to class, and I never looked back. It served me well for three years - and since many professors make their class notes (typically PowerPoint) available on their website before class begins, I could download the notes prior to class and have them right there on the screen.
  21. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Get a tablet with a pen-based interface. Yes, I'm talking about the Windows 7 based ones that are, as lord jobs says, big bulky and have no battery life. Install oneNote on it.

    Take your notes as you would with a pen and paper, but use OCR functionality to turn it into typed text.

    My vote is for a pen and paper though.
  22. cuestakid macrumors 68000

    Jun 14, 2006
    San Fran
    As someone who has lousy hand writing and has trouble taking notes in class, OneNote is a god send. The first time I saw the application was in High School I showed it to a teacher-I then told her how much it was at the time(something like 150 or something like that), and she replied that she would pay 500-and so would I.

    If there is any way that you can get Windows on your Mac, I cannot praise OneNote enough-it runs circles around each and every note taking app I have ever tried or used. It's simpleness and vast features and abilities are better than anything on the market.

    If you are having trouble paying attention, I also strongly recommend a digital voice recorder. Most modern ones work like a flash drive-that is you plug it into a USB port and can see and play the audio files from your PC. Get one that has a long battery and a lot of storage
  23. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601


    Feb 27, 2005
    Pen and paper also gets my vote.

    Trying to draw diagrams, or even things like arrows to connect thoughts, on any digital device is a hassle. It also is an excuse to not truly pay attention, and just mess around with the electronic wizardry.
  24. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    For text and numbers I'd take my 13" MacBook Pro. However if I had to draw any sort of diagrams a pen and paper is simply the easiest option :)

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