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university notetaking

hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks
Original post by Anonymous
hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks


Hi,
This is honestly down to preference as people during lectures do both; however, electronic is the most popular, as you can copy and paste quotes, images and graphs and also is tidier, faster, lighter to carry and easier to access/ find things.
I think some prefer handwriting notes as it helps them take in the information better, so is good for revising ect. It's all up to you and what you are best at though and the option to give both a try is always there to see which you prefer. Personally, I began with handwriting notes as that is what I was used to but now switched to using a device as it has helped a lot with organisation.
Hope this helps!
-Malek
University of Kent Rep
Original post by Anonymous
hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks

Hey there!
Congratulations on your place at university! I'm sure you'll have a great time...

In terms of notes, I much prefer to take them on a laptop because that's where the majority of your work will be. For example, your lecturer will post your lectures every week on your university's learning platform. I always found it easier to go between those two on a laptop. If your course is essay-based, you'll have to learn to do something called referencing which is basically including academic sources in your essays. Because of this, it's good to note down notable readings that you've picked up in lectures but also just general reads you want to find out more about. There's a tool on Microsoft Word that makes references for you which makes it easier to find the online articles and things that have interested you. For that reason, it's much easier on a laptop because it's more difficult to reference on paper. I'm not saying it's impossible, it's just a lot quicker on a laptop.

However if you want to use paper, there's no shame in that. Loads of people still do and I meet new people on my course every year that take notes on paper. It's all about personal preference. If your course is very technology and creative focused, it may be easier for you to use a laptop. But let's say for example your course is a lot of demonstrations and practical experiments (science degrees), it may be easier for you to take notes on paper. It's all about what works best for you. I know I type quicker on a laptop than I write, so I went with that. It's completely up to you.

Hope this helped!
Lucy - Digital Student Ambassador SHU
Original post by Anonymous
hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks

Hey there!!!

For me personally, I have always preferred digital notes. My course (criminology) was assessed by essays and open book exams so having digital notes made it really easy to refer to them, and fond specific content quickly (control f is a live saver!). It also ment that as long as I had my phone or laptop (I used one drive for storage) I could access my notes anywhere.

I do know people who took paper notes, though these were mainly people doing sciencey subjects with equations. People who take paper notes often say it helps them remember things better, although takes more time.

Hope that helps in some way!

Kat
Original post by Anonymous
hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks

Hi there,

I would say this is up to personal preferences really. Some people enjoy using hand-written notes, which has a pro's. However, sometimes keeping electronic notes can be easier to keep organised.

Malachy - University of Liverpool Student Rep
Anon,

It comes down to speed of notetaking ( are you faster typing or writing?), storage (are you good at organising your notes? do you find it easier to store notes manually or electronically?) and revision (do you find it easier to revise off a computer screen, with printed notes or with handwritten notes?)

Hope you find something that works for you!

All the best,

Oluwatosin 2nd year student University of Huddersfield
Original post by Anonymous
hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks


Hi,

This is such a brilliant question and something that has taken me nearly a year to figure out!

Firstly it does depend on the subject and style of teaching, the way I take notes will be applicable to anyone doing a mainly essay based/writing subject (e.g. Humanities, Politics, Social Sciences, Languages etc.)

In my first year I just used Word to make notes, as it was easy to use and something I was familiar with. However I found there was two major problems with this method:
1. ACCIDENTS HAPPEN: whilst I am not majorly accident prone, you are always one accident away from dropping your laptop or spilling a cup of tea over it and not having your notes backed up is never a good idea. I found backing my notes up through Word difficult, and I couldn't access my notes on any other computer other than my own.
2. EVERYTHING GOT CONFUSED: At the beginning of my first year, my filing system on Word was not the best because I didn't fully understand what modules I would be taking and for how long and I was super busy with every other aspect of uni life, so had no time to try and sort it out! Therefore my notes became lost in the random folders I would save them to, and it became a nightmare when I had to revise for exams!

So I decided that I wouldn't do this again for second year, and so set myself the mission of trying to find the most efficient way to organise my notes! I settled on the app/website NOTION which is free for students. This made it so easy to organise my notes and it also meant that I could access them online from any computer. Not only that but they also save automatically meaning you never have to worry about losing your notes. It is also really easy to access old versions of your notes, meaning if you change something on your notes but you want to go back, it is super easy to look at every single change you've made.

This method worked really well for me when it came to revising, as I could easily see where everything was and therefore wasted no time searching for random notes in random folders!!

I hope this helps and let us know if you have any more questions.

Sophia (2nd Year Student at the University of Bath)
Reply 7
these all were really helpful thank you!!!
Reply 8
Handwritten is objectively, proven better in terms of understanding and recall - not that this factors into decisions too often these days (it did when I did my degrees)
Original post by Anonymous
hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks


Hi,
As many others have said it is really personal preference and I would encourage you to not feel pressured to swap your method. I would suggest taking both, especially at the start. There is no harm in carrying a pen and some paper plus your tech - nothing worse than no charge, bad connection or indeed needing to sign without a pen.

Personally I love my notes handwritten. For the majority of classes I took notes handwritten or I revised on paper. However, some classes it was quicker and more convenient to do it digitally especially if a lecture powerpoint was given and I could just digitally annotate it so all my notes were together.
It may also be worth considering how you may be examed and assessed - is it all online and typed or will you need to hand write for a few hours.

Congratulations on starting uni and wish you all the best ! Enjoy - Catherine (University of Strathclyde Student Ambassador)
Original post by Anonymous
hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks


Hi there!!

This is a great question as I had no idea when I first started at uni!!
Firstly, not every method works for each person so sometimes it can be a bit of trial and error to see what works for you! For example, I found that typing notes didn’t really help me take in the information.

During my degree, I ended up getting an iPad so that I could hand write my notes but also have them all in one place and not have to carry loads of paper round. This works great if you like drawing diagrams and things to help you learn!

As a lot of people have said, it’s about working out what works for you and it can take a while to work this out!

I hope this helps!
- Rebecca, UCLan
Original post by Anonymous
hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks

Hey!
I can see there are already loads of answers on this but let me share my experience on this.
During the year i took digital notes on Microsoft oneNote from my iPad/laptop even my phone on the lazy days haha.
But before final exams, I re watched a lot of the lectures and re-wrote my noted in more depth on paper. This helped me physically highlight important details also writing it before final exams helped me remember it better. I was also easily able to refer back to my digital notes and see what diagrams etc I had on each topic.

Hope this gives you some insight!
Vyomika (LU Student Ambassador)
Original post by Anonymous
hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks

Hiya!

This is a great question and one that I had before starting uni.

I personally think it’s down to what you prefer. I know some people prefer to have word documents for each class as they find it easy to go back too.

I personally prefer hand written notes. I prefer it as I can make small lists with bullet points but often draw spider diagrams. Sometimes I quickly draw tables. I like hand written notes as I use different colour pens and highlighters to separate information. I also like that while I’m working on essays etc, I can have my book open next to me to easily recap. This way I don’t have to keep switching between documents.

I’d suggest trying both and see what works best for you. You need to work out your own learning style. That takes a bit of time, so try it all and then make the best decision for you.

Good luck starting uni!

Sophie (ARU) :smile:
Original post by Anonymous
hi, I will be starting uni in September - what would be the best way to take notes? Would you say electronic is more preferable or writing?.
thanks

Hi there :smile:

This comes down to the type of course you are on and your personal preference. Studies show that hand writing notes helps you absorb information better. I personally hand wrote my notes for the first year and half of uni as this was during covid and lectures were pre-recorded so I could go at my own pace. When lectures returned to being in person and also content became more intense in final year, I switched to typing notes as it was the only way that i felt like I could keep up. I still handwrite notes when it comes to revision but I have found that typing notes in general helps to keep things more organised. Just remember to print your notes off and put it in a folder if you are a visual learner. First year is the perfect opportunity to explore different note taking methods so it is definitely worth trialling a few to see what works for you. Hope this helps

Best of luck with uni

Joanna
-Uni of Kent Rep

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