Paper or Electronic

  • Paper

    Votes: 22 48.9%
  • Laptop

    Votes: 23 51.1%

  • Total voters
    45
Jul 23, 2015
10
5
Wrocław, Poland
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Medical Student
I'm going to start my first year of medical school this fall and I was wondering what you guys use for note taking and why? I'm probably going to go old school with the pen and pencil due to the fact that that's how I've taken notes my entire academic life and I'm relatively slow at the keyboard.
 

sazerac

rye sense of humor
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Feb 26, 2012
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I was like you. But in med school I began to drown in paper, and quickly started bringing in an electronic device when I went to class and took notes on it.

This has the advantage of being able to download the latest slides, in case they changed 5 minutes before class. Your apartment also doesn't become a fire hazard, and you won't have Green Peace protesting outside your apartment for killing all those trees.
 

FindMeOnTheLinks

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Jan 25, 2014
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You can't possibly write everything down that you need to quickly enough (ie drawing figures along with adding text to explain it). Therefore your handwritten notes won't be a sufficient stand-alone source, and you will need to refer back to the slides anyway. In that case, why not just take notes electronically then and have it all in one place for reference.

Either way, you will quickly understand why the vast majority of people take solely electronic notes.
 
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DeucesHigh3

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May 19, 2010
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For learning? Handwritten all the way. To have yourself not drown in a stack of papers? Electronic.
Bingo. Take your original notes electronically with the slides (in OneNote, WorkFlowy, whatever floats your boat. There's way too much to do otherwise.

Then, when it's exam-time, make your study-guides on paper. Not a comprehensive study guide of everything, but the stuff that you know you need to just sit down and memorize. Putting pen to paper helps you contexualize and learn things.
 
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username456789

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I had binders and binders full of hand written notes, and a garbage bag full of rubber banded stacks of index note cards.

But I doubt that works for most.
 

JeBrAs

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Apr 22, 2014
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I enjoy electronic. I use OneNote so I can draw/highlight, and type notes on the powerpoint slides. I also draw on a big marker board when I need to condense things or connect processes together (metabolic pathways for example). Also I use quizlet for shear memorization of things like diseases and drugs. Tried to write everything down on paper for only 3 days and discovered how inefficient that was for me. Just play around with both and see how comfortable you are.
 

jason46242003

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Jul 18, 2006
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I would say neither. Just listen without taking note and absorb it all in. Then for tests, study your syllabus and/or powerpoints. If someone think a point is important enough to test, it should be in the syllabus.

Keeping your head down in a laptop or writing notes is boring and you can miss a point your profeesor is trying to miss while taking your notes.
 
Jan 31, 2012
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I would say neither. Just listen without taking note and absorb it all in. Then for tests, study your syllabus and/or powerpoints. If someone think a point is important enough to test, it should be in the syllabus.

Keeping your head down in a laptop or writing notes is boring and you can miss a point your profeesor is trying to miss while taking your notes.
This is half the reason I stream. Just hit the pause button when there's too much information to process.

OP: I use OneNote and take notes in the margins because I can't imagine drawing out structures and pathways on paper at this point.
 
Jun 11, 2015
1
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Medical Student
I struggled with electronic notes because I'd waste a lot of time formatting them. My solution was to print off the school's pre-made lecture notes and annotate and highlight them. If that's not an available option, use a concise textbook and do the same.
 

doapplicant2015

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Oct 17, 2014
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Reiterating the electronic notes.

I took paper notes the first day and haven't hand written a thing in class since then
 

Roxas

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For me it has always depended on the class. I prefer the ease of paperless, but for some classes like cell biology the material was so dry I had to put pen to paper to learn anything in there. Drawing pathways during biochem worked wonders, and certain things in anatomy like the brachial plexus.
 
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DocWinter

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Jan 2, 2014
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I take the ppts and pull pictures and diagrams into a word doc, rewrite the ppt in my own words into the doc and print it out and study from that.
I find it satisfies my penchant for paper over electronics, affords true learning in writing it out vs copying it, and saves paper. A 4pg double sided paper on a 50 pt ppt condenses nicely. Relisten lectures on 2x speed and highlight/note, rinse and repeat
 
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futuremdforme

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May 12, 2013
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Best of both worlds...

I use a surface pro.
Do you hand write notes on ppt slides in one note? I was planning to do this system with an Asus tablet that was given to me (and I'll upgrade to a surface pro if I like it). Any tips on organization or how to make it must useful for studying later?
 

achamess

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Electronic for sure. Searchable. Easily editable. No footprint. Accessible everywhere. Will last a really long time.

For PDFs, I used Skim.app to highlight. I then extract those highlights into various places.

For quick notes, I use a sweet program (Mac only, sorry) called nvALT. Extremely fast to write stuff down.
Evernote is an excellent cross-platform option for most people.
 

ridethecliche

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Do you hand write notes on ppt slides in one note? I was planning to do this system with an Asus tablet that was given to me (and I'll upgrade to a surface pro if I like it). Any tips on organization or how to make it must useful for studying later?
Still working on my system but the plan is:

Pre-lecture: Go through notes and highlight/mark up. Point out anything that seems confusing.
While watching lecture recording: Use a different color pen to make notes and add info as necessary. If something still doesn't make sense, then use another resource to fill in the holes.

Post everything, read through the notes you've taken and add it to a study guide for the block.

I'm not going to class again unless I have to. It's proving to be worthless for me esp for basic sciences.
 

el_duderino

Some men play tennis, I erode the human soul
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I download the slides and import them into OneNote for lecture... but I take notes on paper now. I used to type, and I can certainly type much faster than I can write, but I remember much better writing things down by hand. And I find handwritten notes easier to review and revise.
 
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el_duderino

Some men play tennis, I erode the human soul
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I got a Thinkpad Yoga, which has a Wacom digitizer screen with stylus input. My whole incoming class got them, actually. Not many people do much writing/drawing on the screen. I tried it and didn't like it very much. The only thing I really use the pen/touch input for is highlighting PDFs and maybe circling areas of interest on pathology slides.
 
Sep 13, 2014
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Under the Sea
I'm going to start my first year of medical school this fall and I was wondering what you guys use for note taking and why? I'm probably going to go old school with the pen and pencil due to the fact that that's how I've taken notes my entire academic life and I'm relatively slow at the keyboard.
Paper all the way. But I also love the fact that lectures are recorded. So you can absorb things instead of being in a mad rush to write everything and then take notes during the night. But that's just me I learn by just listening to the instructor.
 
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DoctorLacrosse

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Jan 18, 2012
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my opinion is pointless since I've only taken one exam in med school so far, but so far I've attended lecture where I just sit there and pay attention to try to absorb what I can. then I go home and stream the lecture video, handwriting all my notes as I watch at my own pace. I'm contemplating not going to lecture anymore since I don't get much from it, but I feel guilty not going lol

I tried electronic for the first day, and quickly realized it's too annoying importing slides in different document formats and I remembered legit nothing from typing the notes. so handwritten it is for me, slow or not. we'll see if this changes
 
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