The Student Room Group

suggestions for note-taking at uni?

i'm planning to study sociology at leeds in september, and i'm not sure whether to take notes by hand or online.

on the one hand, over the past couple of years i've developed a style of note taking that really works for me, and i worry that i might not be able to take similar notes on my laptop because docs and word tend to be really inflexible and my notes involve a lot of doodling, abbreviations, symbols, etc.

on the other hand, i worry that taking notes by hand won't be quick enough or that i might need to skip certain bits of information. however, i do think a lot of that would be solved if i was allowed to record the lectures and go back over them, or if i could ask for access to the powerpoints used maybe?

it's worth noting i almost certainly have undiagnosed adhd (two bio siblings diagnosed with it, one bio sibling currently waiting to get diagnosed, i fit the diagnostic criteria), so i don't know if that could help me in terms of maybe getting access to the powerpoints/recorded lectures or if i would need to go through the whole diagnosis process first? idk i'm just stressing a bit about getting things done when i'm there tbh, i don't think i'll really need any other accommodation (which is why i'm not hugely fussed about going & getting diagnosed) but idk if that might play a factor in how my notetaking goes

does anyone have similar experience/know if lecturers will generally give out the powerpoints and/or allow recording?
Reply 1
Hi,
With the undiagnosed ADHD are you on an NHS waiting list, if on a waiting list for the assessment some unis will do some adjustments whilst waiting for the assessment and others will do nothing but this does require having at least a working diagosnsis
However with accessing the slides they are released after the lectures (no more than 24hours) or before the lectures so you will have access to the lectures

With recording the lectures most unis record their own lectures and upload them for you to rewatch them so you would be able to do that and unless you have DSA (need formal ADHD diagnosis) you wouldn't be able to record
Reply 2
its not that deep i dont even take notes, they just read from slides and whenever you want to revise or complete coursework you open up the slides. I do computing so it might be a bit different, but still at leeds.

Every lecture is also recorded
Original post by spammbo
i'm planning to study sociology at leeds in september, and i'm not sure whether to take notes by hand or online.

on the one hand, over the past couple of years i've developed a style of note taking that really works for me, and i worry that i might not be able to take similar notes on my laptop because docs and word tend to be really inflexible and my notes involve a lot of doodling, abbreviations, symbols, etc.

on the other hand, i worry that taking notes by hand won't be quick enough or that i might need to skip certain bits of information. however, i do think a lot of that would be solved if i was allowed to record the lectures and go back over them, or if i could ask for access to the powerpoints used maybe?

it's worth noting i almost certainly have undiagnosed adhd (two bio siblings diagnosed with it, one bio sibling currently waiting to get diagnosed, i fit the diagnostic criteria), so i don't know if that could help me in terms of maybe getting access to the powerpoints/recorded lectures or if i would need to go through the whole diagnosis process first? idk i'm just stressing a bit about getting things done when i'm there tbh, i don't think i'll really need any other accommodation (which is why i'm not hugely fussed about going & getting diagnosed) but idk if that might play a factor in how my notetaking goes

does anyone have similar experience/know if lecturers will generally give out the powerpoints and/or allow recording?

Hey there @spammbo !
I'm unsure about your chosen university but as a general rule of thumb, they usually post the powerpoints and slides to your learning platform each week. So during lectures most of the time, they run through everything and then the seminars of the week they'll go into more detail. I usually take initial notes during the lectures so just like short sentences and then elaborate on these either outside the lectures or during seminar time. I imagine special consideration is more so for when you've got things like exams, you'd probably get more support and help with more time during exams. I'm unsure how that works in terms of lectures but they usually run quite quickly and they don't stop to go over everything. My advice is to note down any questions or topic points that you might want your seminar tutor to go over in more detail and then ask them then.

Hope this helped!
Lucy - Digital Student Ambassador SHU
Just use a pen and paper.
Original post by spammbo
i'm planning to study sociology at leeds in september, and i'm not sure whether to take notes by hand or online.

on the one hand, over the past couple of years i've developed a style of note taking that really works for me, and i worry that i might not be able to take similar notes on my laptop because docs and word tend to be really inflexible and my notes involve a lot of doodling, abbreviations, symbols, etc.

on the other hand, i worry that taking notes by hand won't be quick enough or that i might need to skip certain bits of information. however, i do think a lot of that would be solved if i was allowed to record the lectures and go back over them, or if i could ask for access to the powerpoints used maybe?

it's worth noting i almost certainly have undiagnosed adhd (two bio siblings diagnosed with it, one bio sibling currently waiting to get diagnosed, i fit the diagnostic criteria), so i don't know if that could help me in terms of maybe getting access to the powerpoints/recorded lectures or if i would need to go through the whole diagnosis process first? idk i'm just stressing a bit about getting things done when i'm there tbh, i don't think i'll really need any other accommodation (which is why i'm not hugely fussed about going & getting diagnosed) but idk if that might play a factor in how my notetaking goes

does anyone have similar experience/know if lecturers will generally give out the powerpoints and/or allow recording?

Hi,

Not being able to keep up with the flow of information in a lecture can be a common concern for lots of first year students, however you will soon learn that it is not something to worry about!

I have just completed my degree at Southampton and some lecturers would record their lectures and even provide the powerpoints, but please note that this may not always be the case. In your situation I would recommend talking to the relevant staff to explain your circumstances, this way there may be a way to ensure that you have helpful access to all of the relevant resources.

I would also note that it was emphasised to me at university that I should not try and write down everything that a lecturer is saying, instead it was recommended that I come away from a lecture with approximately five points of interest that can spark further research. I studied English, so it was important that I didn't just repeat what was said in lectures in my essays. Lecturers want to see how you can use the lecture information as a springboard into your own research. Hopefully this takes the pressure off of keeping up in lectures; you don't want to end up with a transcript of what was said!

I hope this has helped. If you have any more questions, please ask away!

Jasmine (an Official University of Southampton Rep):smile:
Original post by spammbo
i'm planning to study sociology at leeds in september, and i'm not sure whether to take notes by hand or online.

on the one hand, over the past couple of years i've developed a style of note taking that really works for me, and i worry that i might not be able to take similar notes on my laptop because docs and word tend to be really inflexible and my notes involve a lot of doodling, abbreviations, symbols, etc.

on the other hand, i worry that taking notes by hand won't be quick enough or that i might need to skip certain bits of information. however, i do think a lot of that would be solved if i was allowed to record the lectures and go back over them, or if i could ask for access to the powerpoints used maybe?

it's worth noting i almost certainly have undiagnosed adhd (two bio siblings diagnosed with it, one bio sibling currently waiting to get diagnosed, i fit the diagnostic criteria), so i don't know if that could help me in terms of maybe getting access to the powerpoints/recorded lectures or if i would need to go through the whole diagnosis process first? idk i'm just stressing a bit about getting things done when i'm there tbh, i don't think i'll really need any other accommodation (which is why i'm not hugely fussed about going & getting diagnosed) but idk if that might play a factor in how my notetaking goes

does anyone have similar experience/know if lecturers will generally give out the powerpoints and/or allow recording?

Hi @spammbo

At my University, the lecture powerpoints are released 2 days prior to the lecture being held, to allow for students to look over it and begin taking notes. Then when the lecture is held, the lecturer tends to add useful additional information verbally, that could be good to add to your notes. I’ve found it is easier for me to take my notes online on my laptop before the lesson via the powerpoint and then add to the sections as I attend the lecture.

Recordings of the lecture are also released within 24 hours after the lecture, so definitely check how it works with your uni.

If you’d prefer to do written notes, then it might be more helpful for you to wait until the lecture recording is released to write them how you usually do, but you run the risk of falling behind (which led to my switch to note-taking on a laptop). Another alternative could be taking brief bullet point notes via laptop as the lecture goes on, and then go back and do your written notes how you like them afterwards?

Hope this helps! :smile:

Estelle
Second Year Psychology Student
University of Huddersfield
Hi @spammbo,

This seems to be a common concern with many students starting at university, but I wouldn't worry!

Many universities are likely to have a portal/student services site where they will upload PowerPoints, recordings, and any other class materials, usually in advance to the actual lecture itself. If not, most (if not all) lecturers are more than happy to email you any resources you need. I've also had some other students in my lectures have permission to record too, so this is something you can always ask about.

Your lecturers and university are there to support you, so I'd recommend asking for support and advice from them so they can understand your situation a bit better.

Hope this helped!
Isabella
Original post by spammbo
i'm planning to study sociology at leeds in september, and i'm not sure whether to take notes by hand or online.

on the one hand, over the past couple of years i've developed a style of note taking that really works for me, and i worry that i might not be able to take similar notes on my laptop because docs and word tend to be really inflexible and my notes involve a lot of doodling, abbreviations, symbols, etc.

on the other hand, i worry that taking notes by hand won't be quick enough or that i might need to skip certain bits of information. however, i do think a lot of that would be solved if i was allowed to record the lectures and go back over them, or if i could ask for access to the powerpoints used maybe?

it's worth noting i almost certainly have undiagnosed adhd (two bio siblings diagnosed with it, one bio sibling currently waiting to get diagnosed, i fit the diagnostic criteria), so i don't know if that could help me in terms of maybe getting access to the powerpoints/recorded lectures or if i would need to go through the whole diagnosis process first? idk i'm just stressing a bit about getting things done when i'm there tbh, i don't think i'll really need any other accommodation (which is why i'm not hugely fussed about going & getting diagnosed) but idk if that might play a factor in how my notetaking goes

does anyone have similar experience/know if lecturers will generally give out the powerpoints and/or allow recording?
Original post by spammbo
i'm planning to study sociology at leeds in september, and i'm not sure whether to take notes by hand or online.

on the one hand, over the past couple of years i've developed a style of note taking that really works for me, and i worry that i might not be able to take similar notes on my laptop because docs and word tend to be really inflexible and my notes involve a lot of doodling, abbreviations, symbols, etc.

on the other hand, i worry that taking notes by hand won't be quick enough or that i might need to skip certain bits of information. however, i do think a lot of that would be solved if i was allowed to record the lectures and go back over them, or if i could ask for access to the powerpoints used maybe?

it's worth noting i almost certainly have undiagnosed adhd (two bio siblings diagnosed with it, one bio sibling currently waiting to get diagnosed, i fit the diagnostic criteria), so i don't know if that could help me in terms of maybe getting access to the powerpoints/recorded lectures or if i would need to go through the whole diagnosis process first? idk i'm just stressing a bit about getting things done when i'm there tbh, i don't think i'll really need any other accommodation (which is why i'm not hugely fussed about going & getting diagnosed) but idk if that might play a factor in how my notetaking goes

does anyone have similar experience/know if lecturers will generally give out the powerpoints and/or allow recording?


Hello @spammbo,

Firstly, many congrats on getting into Leeds!

In terms of recording your lectures, although each lecturer will be different, many of those here at Bath are very happy to record their lectures and allow students to do so with their own mics - so its definitely worth asking. Similarly with the PowerPoints - like you, I was also worried about note taking, and so I emailed my lecturers to ask if they would be willing to send me their lecture materials beforehand, and most were fine with this too. They may be particularly understanding if you explain you feel you may have ADHD and find certain things difficult, but in my experience they will not need a diagnosis for this. Again, each lecturer will be different, but at the end of the day they want you to do well and get the most out of their classes :smile:

I would say that taking notes on a laptop would allow you to get more written down - as the lecturer flipped between slides I would take notes on what they were saying in the relevant slide's notes page, which I found was a nice way to segment my notes into topics. However, like you, I learn better from symbols, doodles and colours, so after my lectures I used to go through my notes on the PowerPoints and make mini-posters and revision cards this way. It took a little bit more time after classes but it definitely helped solidify the info from the lecture and mean I would have really handy revision resources to use later. It might be worth trying if you feel it would work for you!

P.S. I studied psychology here at Bath, so the lectures I had might have similar kinds of material to your sociology ones :smile:

I hope that helps, wishing you the very best of luck in starting university!

Holly
University of Bath
(edited 10 months ago)
Original post by spammbo
i'm planning to study sociology at leeds in september, and i'm not sure whether to take notes by hand or online.

on the one hand, over the past couple of years i've developed a style of note taking that really works for me, and i worry that i might not be able to take similar notes on my laptop because docs and word tend to be really inflexible and my notes involve a lot of doodling, abbreviations, symbols, etc.

on the other hand, i worry that taking notes by hand won't be quick enough or that i might need to skip certain bits of information. however, i do think a lot of that would be solved if i was allowed to record the lectures and go back over them, or if i could ask for access to the powerpoints used maybe?

it's worth noting i almost certainly have undiagnosed adhd (two bio siblings diagnosed with it, one bio sibling currently waiting to get diagnosed, i fit the diagnostic criteria), so i don't know if that could help me in terms of maybe getting access to the powerpoints/recorded lectures or if i would need to go through the whole diagnosis process first? idk i'm just stressing a bit about getting things done when i'm there tbh, i don't think i'll really need any other accommodation (which is why i'm not hugely fussed about going & getting diagnosed) but idk if that might play a factor in how my notetaking goes

does anyone have similar experience/know if lecturers will generally give out the powerpoints and/or allow recording?

Hi!
I know it will vary depending on which university you attend but in my experience the lecture slides are accessible via moodle (this is what my university uses) even before the lecture in most cases. I have found handwritten notes are not fast enough, however, if you have found a way that works for you and you can access the lecture slides then definitely give it a go. I am confident that once you have settled in you will find the most effective way for you.
Hope this helps! Faye :smile:

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