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Studying Use pencils or light-coloured pens for notes in books?

  1. Jul 26, 2016 #1
    Good day everyone,

    I am plan on writing in course books to help studying. I am almost certainly sure this will help me understand the material better.

    The question is if anyone has experience with writing in books and is there a huge difference between using a pencil or using a light-coloured (e.g. yellow) pen?

    The advantage of a pencil is that you can rub it off but often leaves marks, the advantage of a light-coloured pen is that it will not distract as much.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2016 #2


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    Find what works for you. Pencil lets you write information and hints in the margins next to the passages in the text pages. Otherwise, using a highlighter pen (not roller-ball, and not ball-point) allows you to accentuate parts of a passage on a page.
  4. Jul 26, 2016 #3


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    I use a regular pencil and a yellow pencil (or a yellow highlighter in a pinch). The yellow pencil is used as a highlighter which I can erase after the material is learned or becomes less important. The pencil is for me to elaborate on what I have learned or add extra information beyond what I find in the book.
    I used to use an erasable ink pen, and I would still use an erasable ink pen if I needed to take a PE exam as that exam allows you to bring in any book for reference. However, NO pencil marks are allowed in your reference books and if a pencil note is found, you will be dismissed from the exam. Erasable ink is very easy to erase within a few hours of using it. As it dries, it sets up and becomes very difficult to erase after a day or so.
  5. Jul 26, 2016 #4
    All right, I also use a regular and a yellow pencil and it works great.
  6. Jul 26, 2016 #5


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    Use computer notepad . Select text colours to accent different things .

    Ideally use a sketch pad notebook rather than a simple text one . Then you can do formal text , do hand written scribbles and do proper diagrams with annotation .

    Import anything useful . Have sections , tags and a primary index with searching facilities .
  7. Jul 26, 2016 #6
    The sketch pad notebook is really nice advice. I do not have one but I will keep this idea in mind for later.
  8. Jul 26, 2016 #7
    Sorry I don't mean to hijack the thread, but are you saying pencil marks are forbidden, but pen marks are acceptable? I cant believe that's really true...
  9. Jul 26, 2016 #8


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    You are welcome to verify. The reasoning is as follows; you are given a pencil to take the exam with (you are only allowed to bring your books and an NCEES approved calculator (or two). The NCEES is very concerned about problem theft ie examinees stealing questions from the exam, hence no pencil marks as you are issued a pencil. Whatever you wrote in your books for notes is okay... as long as it was before the exam. So you can either highlight every note, or simply use pen and not worry about finding these pencil notes later at an inappropriate time in front of a proctor (who is often a volunteer without any knowledge of the exams, but is instructed to watch for pencil marks in books!). Not a problem for most, but it is a problem for engineers wanting to take the professional engineering exam.
  10. Jul 26, 2016 #9
    Aha I missed the point completely. Thanks for clarifying!
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