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QotD: Note-Taking

Question: Did you take many notes in school?

My Answer: No. I certainly as hell never took notes as well-organized as those at Cornell would have had me do. Cripes! I was lucky if a 45-minute lecture yielded a page of notes. More likely I paid attention and then reviewed things myself in the book. Chemistry was different - writing down chemical reactions on organic molecules took up a lot of space, but even then I'd struggle to move to a third page in lectures.

Lab notes are another matter. My lab notes were tediously detailed. They still are, except these days those notes occur in comments (in code).

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

7 Responses to "QotD: Note-Taking"

  1. As a current college student, and an OCD, anal-retentive one at that, I can say that Notational Velocity is love.

  2. As a current college student as well, I take absolutely no notes. But my college blows hard, so just reading the pertinent chapter in the text while the professor lectures and doing a minimal amount of homework gets me better than average grades.

  3. I took only very sparse notes during university. I always found that I absorbed much more material by listening and thinking about what was being said then by continually writing.

  4. QotD: Note-Taking

    Question: Did you take many notes in school?

    Um Sorta. Some classes I did take notes as the professor lectured, but I don't think I have ever actually gone back and reread the notes. Not even once. I have notebooks full of notes that have never b...

  5. It depended on the class, but most of the time I found that it was better to try to pay attention to what the professor was saying than to take notes. Taking lots of notes tended to make me miss some of what the professor said, and kept me from being able to do a lot of thinking in class.

    Particularly in math classes (I was a math/computer science joint major) it was generally better to try to listen and understand what the professor was explaining rather than writing it all down. After all, most of it was in the book anyway. Typically I only wrote down the more interesting proofs which weren't in the textbook.

  6. I too never quite benefited as much from note taking as I did from simply paying attention to the lecture. I'm someone where if you tell me something and I don't remember it, there's a very low likelihood that I ever will (and I find reading notes of stuff I already know very boring, and tend to just forget).

  7. I agree with Dustin and Philip.. I mostly listened, but I did take notes, just not continously as some did, to an incredibly pointless degree. I doodled and observed classmates, and listened to explanation of a point, after I had written down the jist.

    What I did do later at one point, is dedicate after class time to transcribing my handwritten notes to typewritten (that is, word processed) It was sort of like an extra study session, forced me to clarify points I didn't quite get in lecture. and gave me a much more legible, compact, and flexible set of notes come cram time.

    Less effective, but still effective to some degree, I actually hired a typist off campus to transcribe my handwritten scribbles. I could cover parts up and quiz myself as I studied them. They were good enough that they were stolen by classmates.

    Post graduate work often encourages collaboration and collection of notes by various students, into a cohesive shared and distributed hole.

    In these days of students with laptops, this collective shine and polish is probably happening more frequently and naturally in undergrad studies.

    But as far as I know, there are still professors who prohibit typing during lectures, or recording of same. Is this the case anywhere?


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