Note Taking in Biology

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    • #10190
      BioCore
      Participant

      I was wondering when it comes to taking down notes from the weekly/daily readings, what do some of you do? Do you take notes by hand or do some of you use laptop/Desktop Computers? I have currently started testing out making my notes on my computer, and I have noticed that I am much faster at typing than I am at writing. But that could be because Molecular Biology is very fact and information rich – there is quite a bit of information to take account of.

    • #86221
      mith
      Participant

      I bribe someone to take notes for me. Then I sleep in class and wake up refreshed.

    • #86225
      alextemplet
      Participant

      I use a combination of my laptop computer and good-old-fashioned handwriting. In lab, I write everything by hand because my notes frequently involve diagrams and drawings that would be almost impossible to do on my computer in a time-efficient manner. In lecture, I conveniently sit right next to a power outlet and a wireless router, so I plug in my laptop. My professor posts powerpoint notes online, and if possible I try to print these out before class, or at least have the powerpoint open on my computer. That way, I can follow along with the presentation and I can flip back to previous slides if I missed something. I find note-taking on a computer to be much better, since if I have to go back and modify something it’s a lot easier when dealing with text than when having to scratch out and rewrite handwriting.

    • #86230
      BioCore
      Participant
      quote alextemplet:

      …I find note-taking on a computer to be much better, since if I have to go back and modify something it’s a lot easier when dealing with text than when having to scratch out and rewrite handwriting.

      When you take Lecture Notes, do you also write down everything that was on the lecture slides? Or do you only write down something that the Professor said and was not on the slides, and then you use both during your studies?

      I also have one more question, when it comes to readings – have you ever read more than is needed or do you usually stick to what has been assigned and if necessary read anything extra later on?

    • #86231
      alextemplet
      Participant

      In lecture, I usually don’t write down anything, preferring to type instead. I type my notes as a more abridged version of the professor’s powerpoints. For example, anything that I already know or would easily remember, I wouldn’t put in my typed notes; anything that would give me grief, I would type. I print out both the powerpoints and my typed notes and study both.

      As for the book, how much I read depends on the class. Some professors require extensive reading; others little or none. I use my textbooks extensively for research papers and the like, but other than that, that depends on the class.

    • #86258
      MrMistery
      Participant

      I type in lectures too, though I do not have the same problems as alex(I don’t need to plug in my computer, we have wireless internet, and because my college is for lazy people who don’t study so much, I usually have 1-2 lectures/day, enough to be able to run on battery). And I generally never type anything that was in the slides, unless it is really really important.

      PS: topic moved. Why the heck did you post this to molecular biology?

    • #86268
      alextemplet
      Participant

      I could run my computer on battery for 3.5 hours if I had to, but I prefer to plug it in as much as possible. Batteries in my experience can be unreliable at the worst possible times, so I try not to push my luck with it. Our entire campus has a wireless network, but it was built by the lowest bidder so the farther away you move from a router, the less reliable it becomes. Hence my strategy of sitting as close to it as possible.

    • #86270
      wannabeaditz
      Participant

      i handwrite my notes as it i hate my laptop very much

    • #86271
      MrMistery
      Participant

      from what I understand my college has a pretty crappy wireless network compared to other colleges, but fortunately I never have any problems with signal, just that its speed is not great(which is fine with me, I don’t download anything off the internet anyway). What do you mean batteries can be unreliable? It won’t suddenly die, will it? PS: I don’t trust computers anyway, that’s I always have a notebook in my backpack, just in case…

    • #86272
      alextemplet
      Participant

      I’ll admit that statement was based partly on my own paranoia and inherent distrust of anything technological. Yes, I am worried about the battery suddenly dying without warning. This happened to me once (not with my current laptop) and since then I’ve been a bit paranoid about it. That’s why I like to plug mine in whenever possible. In order to achieve maximum battery life, it helps to turn off the computer’s wireless antenna, speakers (not required in class anyway), and dim the screen a bit. If your operating system allows you to clock-down your processor (which admittedly slows performance), you can stretch your battery even further. Wireless isn’t really necessary for note-taking, but I have found in some classes that it is helpful to be able to look something up online during the lecture. For example, if the professor moves to a new chapter of powerpoint notes halfway through class, I can usually get it online during class if I haven’t printed it out yet.

      The wireless network here is fast enough; the problem is that it can sometimes take twenty minutes to establish a connection. Very annoying, that can be, if what you’re doing requires internet access.

    • #86274
      MichaelXY
      Participant

      I find note taking distracting, I just write down keywords, or make an outline.
      I usually write down good notes while I am studying after class.

    • #86276
      alextemplet
      Participant

      I don’t have the memory to pull that off. If I don’t write it down during class, I’m sure to forget it later.

    • #86290
      BioCore
      Participant

      That is actually something I am having troubles deciding on right now. When ever I go to my Biology classes, there is relatively nothing that the Professor might say that is not on the lecture notes. Most of the time there might be a few statements, ideas, facts, or keywords but that is about it – they usually just read from the lecture notes and elaborate a bit more (fillers in my opinion).

      So I am not sure if I should use my lecture time to just listen and soak it in or if I should copy down the lecture slide notes and anything I might here that is not there.

    • #86293
      alextemplet
      Participant

      I find writing down notes helps me to pay attention. Even if the professor’s just reading from slides that I’ve already printed out, I won’t absorb the information if I don’t pay attention, so I take notes to keep myself focused.

    • #86302
      AstusAleator
      Participant

      type a basic outline of the lecture, even though there’s powerpoint available. That way you can inject non-powerpoint notes and have a frame of reference for their relevance.

      Pen and paper are nice for diagrams, drawings, etc, but make sure you put a reference back to your outline, again for context.

    • #86752
      BioCore
      Participant

      I wanted to bring this topic back up instead of making another one. I was wondering if any of you use some special note taking applications when writing your notes. Or do you just use any good old word processing app and make linear notes?

      This has been bothering me a lot. A lot of people tell me that making non-linear notes (in Biology) is very good and better way to study. But I have found that linear work with me well enough as well – and I usually make random connections in my head anyways, not on paper. So what is your take on this?

    • #86758
      alextemplet
      Participant

      I use the outline format in a word processor. I find that works best.

    • #87056
      BioPio07
      Participant

      I find that a tape-recorder helps a lot. Tape the lecture and then take more notes after. 🙂

    • #87070
      MrMistery
      Participant

      doesn’t your university put lectures online?

    • #87359
      Darwin420
      Participant

      What I do is go to the lectures, listen carefully and write down key ideas. I then review my notes after each class. This way I don’t have to cram for exams because I have been taking baby steps on a daily basis.

      I write things down simply because I find I retain info better that way. When I was a kid I always wrote down my notes so I am just use to learning by writings things down. Plus, if I have my computer with me I usually resort to going on msn, or having biological debates with you guys on this site lol and not paying attention to class.

    • #87915
      keenangp
      Participant

      lol I must be the only one here who does not use the online powerpoints. The night before the test I’ll do any questions posted online but I’m pretty old fashioned with my highlighters and notepaper.

      I like writing a rough draft in class, then writing an expounded version after class, stick a clip on it and archive it in the binder. Then you’ve got a nice tidy summary of everything you’ve learned broken into units for reference.

      Note: Don’t do this if you hate people asking you if they can photocopy your notes at the end of semester. 😐

      In labs I use a smaller sized graph paper notebook, perfect for running about in between stations. We go so fast in lab though that my notes get messier and messier through the class.

    • #87917
      David George
      Participant

      hehehe
      I never take notes.I am way too lazy abt it.
      If its important i take a photocopy from my friend.
      But sometimes the professor comes checking if we are taking notes,at that time i start scribbling.But even i can’t decipher it…..

    • #87967
      MichaelXY
      Participant

      When I need to study for a bio exam, I make flash cards. They always work for me. For more complicated things, I draw diagrams, or write things out until I have a clear picture of how something works.

    • #88352
      Sepals
      Participant

      I used to take notes form books, but it’s very time consuming and I find time is better spent reading the book and maybe sticking post-its on the side of the pages of helpful sections. If it’s a library book I can’t have for long, I’ll photocopy the relevent pages and highlight what’s important.

    • #88353
      Sepals
      Participant
      quote BioPio07:

      I find that a tape-recorder helps a lot. Tape the lecture and then take more notes after. 🙂

      I used to do that and it’ll take hours to write up. I advice if someone wants to record, try and take as much notes as possible at the same time. It’ll make the lecture easier to remember and help keep you focused on the content.

    • #89638
      BioCore
      Participant
      quote Sepals:

      I used to take notes form books, but it’s very time consuming and I find time is better spent reading the book and maybe sticking post-its on the side of the pages of helpful sections. If it’s a library book I can’t have for long, I’ll photocopy the relevent pages and highlight what’s important.

      Again sorry for bringing this back up but I just noticed that you had an interesting notion. This is the biggest reason I started taking notes on the computer due to time. I agree that highlighting and reading is probably better, but then how do you review for tests? I mean going through all that information, doesn’t it take for ever as well or do you find that it is much faster? Also has it made you more efficient at studying (that is better)?

    • #89639
      Sepals
      Participant

      Keep over the stuff again and again and try to write from memory.

      I’m not the best person to give advice on revision….

    • #89642
      BioCore
      Participant

      ha ha, thats alright because your method for revision is something I always did. Actually I would usually only go through certain things once and hardly ever again until a test, but that was because I used to constantly right out notes. with your method, you save time by not writing but keep going over them and then try to write from memory, which I think is actually a bit better.

      A suggestion though if you do not mind, I remember reading how this one girl used her iPod to constantly keep fresh on her bio notes. I have a link below, very short article might benefit you if you have an mp3 player and a good recording program. LINK

      I think if you made quick summaries, and then recorded them as she did and constantly kept going over them while on the bus or during some free time before sleeping your method could become if better. I might give it a try for a while see how it goes.

    • #89890
      ohiosammi
      Participant

      My brother says that it is easier and better to take notes by hand. The more you physically write something the better you remember it. He is at Wright State Univ. in Ohio and most of the science professors do not like students taking notes on their laptop. He went to http://www.bookfactory.com to buy some pretty cool Student Laboratory Notebooks. He has a Ruled book for classroom notes and a Grid book for his weekly lab.
      — Science classes aside, I tend to agree with my brother. It is better to hand-write your notes.

    • #89895
      MichaelXY
      Participant

      I had to sit next to someone using a laptop to take notes. It was irritating as hell to listen to that constant clickity click of the keyboard. It made it difficult to concentrate on the lecture.

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