170618 // I haven’t made a post like this in a while, but I’m revising for an exam right now and it’s the last thing I want to be doing so I’m procrastinating (don’t follow my lead kids).
How I use Digital Notes
I’ll make a more detailed post about how I study at some point, but for now:
I use microsoft onenote, but you can use whatever program you feel comfortable with.
Useful features of onenote include the organisation into notebooks, sections, and tabs, search function, equation support, tagging, and formatting options (inc. different heading styles).
You can find really great posts about onenote quite easily if you’re interested in how it works (I would 100% recommend it).
Throughout the year I type up my class notes, summarising information and organising it into a sensible order.
This took a lot of discipline and I fell off the bandwagon quite a bit. I initially intended to type up my notes from the day every evening, but I found it’s more realistic to just do it as often as possible and to aim to finish each topic’s notes before I move onto the next one.
When I come to revise for exams I will rewrite and summarise my notes on paper (writing out notes helps me remember them, but this may not work for you)
When I’m doing the first few past papers I’ll have my notes with me so I can look things up until I can do a paper without them.
I find this is more effective than using the mark scheme to help as the mark scheme basically gives you the answers.
Why Make Digital Notes?
Obviously digital notes don’t work for everyone, but I find they’re much more useful to have than notes on paper, at least before you start revising.
The main benefits of digital notes are:
typing is faster than writing
search functions (depending on the program) to look up information quickly
neater and faster formatting
you can back them up somewhere else so you don’t have to worry about losing or damaging them
you can bring all your notes with you without it weighing a tonne (assuming your laptop/tablet doesn’t weigh a tonne)
copy and paste! Ofc use this as infrequently as possible, but it’s useful for quotes etc.
pictures without the effort of drawing or printing out and sticking in
cheaper as you don’t have to buy pens and paper as often
an excuse to bring your computer into school and then go online shopping and play games during really boring classes no I haven’t done this what are you talking about so you have access to google etc. to look things up whenever
The only reason I’ve managed to keep up with my notes throughout the year is because I don’t take any for maths and I’ve kind of fallen off the bandwagon for French (whoops). It’s a bit unrealistic to expect to keep up with all the notes for all your subjects (particularly if you’re doing gcses), so prioritise.
Subjects like maths tend to assess a skill rather than knowledge, so it’s probably more useful to do practice questions rather than make notes.
If you’re dropping a subject in a year and won’t touch it again make sure it’s actually worth making notes for the whole year.
In Class or After Class?
Whether you write notes on the computer during class or afterwards depends on the class.
I’ve got one particular teacher who flits back and forth between topics and often mentions things without going into detail because she assumes we’re too stupid to understand (not my favourite teacher ngl). So I use my laptop in her lessons so I can go back to topics we’ve already done and so I can google things to fact check (she frequently dumbs stuff down to inaccurate levels) and expand on points that she makes.
If you’ve got a teacher that tends to move super fast it might be worth having a computer with you as typing is generally much faster than writing.
If you can’t touch type learning is a really good idea, even just to improve the speed of your typing (I can’t actually touch type but I took a course until I learnt to use all my fingers when typing and now I type much faster). There’s lots of free online courses available.
Alternatively, you can just make all your class notes on paper and type up the important information when you get home.
This means you don’t have to worry about your class notes being neat enough to revise from; after you type them up you can file them or even throw them away to save space.
It also works as a review which is really good for putting the information into your long-term memory.
However it is also pretty time consuming so you’ve got to be super disciplined to keep on top of it.
In my school at a levels I’ve found it’s not too unusual to have a laptop out but it’s a bit odd to have one at gcses (idk about other schools). Obviously you shouldn’t care about what other people think, but if having your laptop/tablet with you will make you feel self-conscious and uncomfortable then leave it at home.
Also laptops and tablets are expensive and it’s understandable if you’d rather keep them safe at home.
That said, people do get used to it. Even if you’re the only one with a laptop/tablet, the novelty wears off quickly.
Some teachers don’t actually like students using laptops and tablets during class, so do check before you bring it in.
I hope this helped! Of course if you have any questions about this (or anything else) my ask is always open please ask me something