This is a sequel to Getting organised for uni using technology (pt.1).
It’s very interesting to see how people study and take notes! Everyone does it differently and everyone has their own method of organising their notes. And I guess the reason why I’m sharing the way I organise my notes is to hopefully give you all some ideas on new ways to get organised.
This post carries on from last week’s post about how I use my laptop to take notes and get organised for uni. And this week, I will be focusing on how I get organised “paper-style”. And what I mean by that, is when I’m handwriting my notes out, printing out all my readings, etc.
Ring binders and reinforced paper
I’m a big fan of the ring binder and reinforced paper refills! Reinforced paper refills are loose sheets of paper, and I like working with these instead of notebooks because it gives me the freedom to rearrange and add things around in my folder.
Typically I would buy a 2 or 4 ring folder, those ones with the plastic outer covering.
I prefer a 4 ring folder because it’s much more secure, and hold my notes together. But if you don’t have the patience to punch in extra holes in your readings etc., then stick to the 2 ring folders. I get the ones with the plastic over covering because it’s super convenient!
I tend to put the pretty cover of my prac manual on the front of my folder to differentiate from other subjects. OR I would print out the lecture schedule and chuck it on the front.
First section of the folder
I usually put all the admin and assignment details in the front section of the folder. Then I would put my lecture notes.
How I organise my lecture notes
The very first picture of this post is how I organised my notes for ZOOL20005: Animal Structure and Function (a subject I did last semester). Again, I still think that how you organise your notes depends on the subject. It’s just a matter of getting creative, and thinking what’s the best way for YOU to learn from your notes. So for this particular subject, I categorised my notes according to each animal/phylum/group etc.
For the major categories, I would insert a little tab. I actually made these tabs from left-over flashcards (check out my previous post about how I make my flashcards here).
I just punched holes in the flashcard, making sure it sticks out a little at the top where I can label it. And for sub-categories, I would cut the flashcard in half, and these ones would not stick out at the top because it might get a bit overcrowded.
This tab idea actually worked out better than I thought! I found it frustrating using those pre-made page dividers because I couldn’t organise my notes the way I wanted! The didn’t have the number of dividers that I wanted. By creating my own tabs out of recycled flashcards, this gave me heaps more freedom and flexibility to organise the notes the way I wanted to.
When it comes to readings, sometimes I put them under the categories with the lecture notes. Or sometimes I would put all the readings together in a separate section in the folder.
Here is another example of my tab system for ZOOL20004: Australian Wildlife Biology (a subject that I totally recommend! Probably one of the best science ones I’ve done to date.)
To me, the most logical way to organise your notes is to group them under central themes, and find ways to make connections to different things.
What about prac notes?
Some of my subjects have pracs every week, so a way that I organise my prac notes is that I would buy a 12-page divider then file the notes according to the week. That way, if I have a prac in week 5, I would just flip straight to the “5” tab and there it is! No need for frantic flipping.
Notebooks with holes already punched in are super handy too! I tend to write notes on the loose leaf paper for the lectures. Then in my notebook, I would put my exam stuff in there.
You know, practice responses, consolidated information etc. This is basically my “ultimate” study notes, where I condense everything. Plus, easier to take out and study on the train than taking your massive folder out.
Additionally, I would stick in some spare plastic pockets at the end of the folder for those random pieces of paper.
So those were some ways I organise my things for uni! I hope this post was somewhat helpful.