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Your work habits

  1. Aug 24, 2008 #1
    This is a more literal interpretation of "academic guidance...."

    So I start uni in a week. It took me practically all of high school to finally find a configuration of books and supplies that worked for me and I'm sure it will need to adapt for the post-secondary environment. Some kids, I know, have thees massicve binders stuffed with all their notes... others have separate notebooks and folders for each credit-class, etc. My question to you, physforumers, is how do best take notes, do sameple problem and study course material? Do you record your lectures with a little digi recorder? Carry around a huge honking binder? Tell me what works best for you!

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2008 #2
    In one of my classes there was this guy that took a picture of the blackboard (with flash haha) of everything the professor wrote. The professor never said a word about it the whole semester.

    I never took too many notes so I simply kept an 80 page notebook and would just write information for classes in the order I received it and that would last about 3 semesters. Unless you really like taking notes, mechanically writing down everything the professor says can get in the way of your learning; The process of writing on a blackboard is quite instructive in itself.
  4. Aug 24, 2008 #3

    I know for arts and stuff there are tons of handouts (which usually come with a fee). Is it the same with maths and sciences? Also, do you get reviews or summative type things to prepare for exams?
  5. Aug 24, 2008 #4
    No. In some classes they may, but usually its just a "up to today's lecture is on the test".

    As for lectures, I personally find them useless. They are too rapid to get any kind of understanding of the material. You either pay attention or you take notes, I can't seem to do both at once. I think my approach is better, because I have a friend who makes really good notes but fails tests. On the other hand, his notes make a better refrence.

    Its probably best to get seperate notebooks for your classes. You aren't likely to fit everything in one binder, no matter how big. Recording lectures seems useless as well. Everything important that the prof says you should have on paper. Time is better spent learning than listening to someone speak over and over on video. I know 2 guys who record, and they are bad students.
  6. Aug 24, 2008 #5
    To each class I bring the text (for reference when the professor refers to it), a 1" easy-snap binder with loose leaf college ruled paper, and a mechanical pencil. Keeping a separate notebook for each class for notes, work, and handouts really helps me stay organized. There is also an obsessive compulsive tick that I have with my notebooks. I keep them evenly spaced on the floor of my office along with the accompanying text books. Whenever I walk by them, my mind goes into a mini review of everything I've been doing in those classes. Somehow it works with the way I network memories and understanding.

    I use my iPhone for recording and keeping track of due dates for assignments.

    My laptop has a folder that contains everything related to my schoolwork and education related plans.

    I suppose it's different for everyone.
  7. Aug 24, 2008 #6
    Small quad-ruled notebook for each class. Textbook IFF necessary. Can't see so I sit towards the front. Drafting quality mechanical pencil for sketches and mathematics, Uniball pen for notes.

    Notetaking: If the professor is putting it on the board, it's usually worth putting in the notebook. If he emphasizes it in speech, it's usually worth jotting down. Never sacrifice following along with his pace to take notes if he gets ahead of you. If you ignore what he says and just copy, you'll take incomplete notes out of context, without the ability to review later. Remember, worst comes to worst, you can always borrow a friend's notes or look up the topic in your text or (sometimes online).

    As for assignments: Keep track of in a notebook, and when I get back to my dorm room I write up a sheet of paper with all current and immediately pending assignments (as well as miniature reminders i.e. laundry//pick up books for __), and tape directly to wall that my bed rests against. Check boxes as each assignment's completed and prepared.

    I might try to get into a calendar based approach for assignments this year, but I dunno. To each his/her own.
  8. Aug 27, 2008 #7
    I just carry a clipboard with loose leaf. Then I write the course# and date and page# on the top right hand corner of each page as I take notes. At the end of each week I put the notes into separate binders that I keep at my house.
    On the plus side, I've had the same binders for 4 years because they don't get beat up. Also my backpack is always really light!

    Also, a way to get around the taking notes/paying attention problem in class is to go over the material beforehand and make sure that you learn all of the definitions in your text. This will make it much easier to follow what the prof is doing. Also if there's something you totally KNOW is in the text book, you don't have to write it down (but make sure you write the title down at least, so that you know it was covered).
    I'd recommend that you be careful about writing down proofs and examples word-for-word though, because you're going to want them when you do your assignments or study for tests.

    I use the same assignment-remembering method as Cvan, and it's worked well so far!
  9. Aug 28, 2008 #8
    I always find it funny to see the newbies with the voice recorders on the first day of class.

    My habits are just using plain old white printer paper and just writing down a few things and keep it all in a binder for each class. I like to focus more on the lecture rather than taking notes. My school has professors that actually like to teach and are very good at it. If your at one those "top" schools which doesn't have professors like that and who like to play russian roulette with exams, then just go out any buy a 300 page notebook and have fun writing.
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