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So I either sleeped, talked or provoked the teacher throughout my school days. Taking notes is one thing I never did consistenty (or well). Now I'm trying to teach myself something from a book and I figure taking down notes might be helpful/handy. Does anybody have any suggestions to share with me?

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Last Post by bobwahler
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Loose outline form, briefly summarizing notable concepts in your own words on note cards with the page number included for easy reference later.

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I make notes on 3x5 cards in very loose outline. Always carry them in my shirt pocket. I hardly ever need to look them up, as I write it helps my brain to remember.

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thanks for the suggestions guys, but note cards? Is there an advantage to these over notebooks/pads? I tend to prefer the latter.

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thanks for the suggestions guys, but note cards? Is there an advantage to these over notebooks/pads? I tend to prefer the latter.

Note cards are a bit sturdier and smaller, which make them a little more portable and less inclined to be wrinkled up and destroyed. But really, use notepads if you like them better. The point is really just to find a system that works for you within your own habits and preferences.

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I never made decent notes in school. Still dont know how to :(

Me too. I never would go back and look at them so I did not see the reason to take them in the first place.

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I use an outline form, but the amount of notes taken varies by content and how well I think I'll remember it. For example, I had a meeting a few weeks ago I took 3 notes, then went back to my office and sent a 1/2 page email to my manager summarizing the meeting. Other times I've taken many more notes and still couldn't remember what had been discussed.

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I think taking notes is not essential for remembering something. It is just that some people can remember things by doing so.

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What, when all is said and done, do you NEED to know.
Pass a final? Question the instructor A LOT on what they think is "important" and learn it (it WILL be on the final).
Use the knowledge? Screw (or at least back-seat) the grade, and find out what you really need to know, and know it.
Anything else? Why are you spending your time on this?

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Everything I need to know that I think I will forget I put in Outlook notes.

For years I carried a Palm or Ipaq for the same purpose, but they are tedious.

Long ago I used a product called Info Select by Micro Logic, I think they are still around.

I date the note and (generally at the top) I include (a lot of) key words, phrases and concepts which I believe I will be likely to search for later. Then I write my note, be it an explanation, a fix, or just important data.

Days, weeks, months, years later, when I am trying to solve an issue or remember the information, whether I remember taking the note or not, I first search my notes to see if I've run across it before. This resolves a meaningful percentage of the things I need to find daily.

I do this when I am researching, studying, or have just determined a solution I am not likely to remember later.

Searching on key words and concepts brings up a lot of information, and is a great way of storing, researching and studying notes.

As I come back to the notes later, I expand on them if I have new information, so my notes are a living thing.

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Learning is quite a personal task.
I rarely went back and looked at mine either. But I found out by accident that just taking them helped; perhaps it's the extra 3 microseconds of thought used to decide what to write.
I switched to typing my notes on a laptop. I think it was because I was touch typing, but I quickly realized that I had little idea what I had even taken notes on, never mind what the notes said.
Again, just me; but merely writing the notes improved my retention.
Another 49 of these and you'll have a buck for a half cup of coffee.

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