Getting organised for uni with technology (pt.1)

Image via 9gag

A question that I get commonly asked is, “How do you organise your lecture notes for uni?” This question is usually followed by the paper vs technology debate. You know…is it better to use your laptop to organise your uni stuff, or is it better to stick to handwriting things out, and print everything out?

Well…I find that a combination of both works really well for me, and I also find it depends on the subject you’re taking.

So I will be doing a 2-part blog post on how I organise my things for uni using technology (this post), and using old-school paper (next week’s post). For those of you who need some ideas on how to organise your notes and all that for uni, I hope these posts will help get your creative juices flowing!

Here’s is my folder for one of my subjects – ZOOL20006 Comparative Animal Physiology. (Which I might add, I am quite enjoying it! But ask me again once exams are over. It might be a completely different story then). And this is how most of my folders for each subject looks like. I’ll explain what I put in each folder next.

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Here, I put things like – the subject timetable, the rundown of the assignments for the subject, prac timetable.


Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 10.21.31 PM

Pretty self explanatory. I have a folder for each assignment and I just drop in everything related such as results from our pracs, the assignment brief, research papers etc.


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It seems way too early to be thinking about exams, but I’ve started downloaded the sample papers (just in case they disappear later on), and I would just put the title as the year or topic.

P.s. it’s always good to get your hands on past papers (if they are any), so you get an idea on how you will be tested.


Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 10.44.44 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-03 at 10.47.08 PM

For lectures, I have a folder for each week. And when I download my lecture slides, I rename them – and put the lecture number on there to keep them in order.

I don’t know if PC people have this on their computer, but you can label your files with colours – which is super handy! Sometimes I label lectures that I need to go back and do more study on (that’s what I’ve done above), or sometimes I label the ones that I need to listen to the recording because I missed the lecture etc.


Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 10.55.58 PM

Yep, again to keep them in order, I label them as P-number. And yes – I get to play with LIVE animals this semester which is such a nice change to all the bones and dissections I’ve been doing last semester.


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This is kind of like the ‘miscellaneous’ folder! Just documents that the lecturer puts on the LMS like research papers, readings, how-to instructions (like above) etc. Or sometimes I categorise the readings under the lecture, it really depends!


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Here I put my summaries from lectures, from textbooks, from documentaries I watch etc. I’m actually testing out a new way of studying this semester for my subjects. Instead of writing notes out, I’ll be doing it on my computer. One thing that I’ve realised is that, I spend far too much time trying to learn the entire syllabus, but when it came to exam time – I didn’t know how to apply my understanding and answer questions!

Writing notes out by hand was far too time consuming for me, so what I’m doing this semester is to type them up on my laptop (so it’s faster), then by hand, I would come up with practice questions and I would write out my answers. I think that this will be a better system for me, but we’ll see!

One piece of advice that really stuck with me is to, “Study smarter, not harder”.

So this is how I lay out my summaries (see above image)

The top box is where I put the lecture number, who the lecturer was (so if I have questions, I know which lecturer to pester), the title of the lecture, and the readings I have to do.

Then I’ve spilt the table up into 2 columns – one smaller and one larger. The smaller one is the very basic jist of what that particular section was about. And the larger column is where I put details in and I also copy and paste relevant diagrams and important stuff on there.

So if I’m running short on time, I’d skim over the smaller column to give me a very basic summary of the entire lecture!

When I have more time, I will work on some tutorials on note-taking tips and tricks with excel, microsoft word, adobe etc. There is SO MUCH you can play around with these software!


This is generally the way I organise all the technology-side of studying! I hope this gives you some ideas on how to get organised for uni.

Stay tuned for the next post – Getting organised for uni, paper-style (pt. 2)

Hope everyone is surviving election week!


2 thoughts on “Getting organised for uni with technology (pt.1)

  1. Hey ! what are some good apps to have on your ipad for lecture notes (taking down notes , organizing and studying in general) ?

    1. Hi Sudha! I don’t really use my ipad nowadays, but I quite like using the Adobe Reader app for taking notes. I would open up the lecture slides and type my notes straight on there.

      And when organising things – I like to open my pdfs and readings via iBooks or on Dropbox. Dropbox is actually amazing because you can access it on most devices (phones, laptops) and you can easily drop new files into your dropbox folder and you can just open it on your iPad!

      I’ll actually add this topic onto my ‘to-blog’ list! There’s heaps of cool tools out there to use on iPad.

      You can also search up on the App store for new apps to play with. Look in the education/productivity categories.

      Hope this somewhat helps!

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