2 Feb 2016

a more in-depth look at how I take notes

So this isn't a set-by-step guide but it's kind of a more detailed look at how I take notes. As I've mentioned on a few other occasions, my notes are quite structured in that we're given the 'final year learning objectives' and the university basically assume we plough through those at our own leisurely pace. As a result, a lot of my learning focuses around these objectives rather than on a certain chapter in textbook x or y.

The first step of any note-taking session is to make sure your desk is set up to your liking. I like to have plenty of pens to hand, the learning objectives in one corner (top left on this occasion), a textbook to the left, my notebook usually in the middle, my computer at the back of the desk so I can do an emergency Google for things if necessary and a few post-it notes nearby. My desk can end up quite messy during these sessions so I always tidy everything away at the end of each day.


The pens I like to have to hand are some form of colour (either Staedtler Fineliners or Muji gel pens), a decent fountain pen (shown below is a Pilot Vanishing Point Raden on the left and Platinum 3776 Century Nice in the middle and a Lamy Safari on the right). Post-it notes are invaluable also for the tiny bits of niche knowledge that may be the difference between being in the top 20% and the top 10% (I use my own judgement for this!).


When it comes to the layout of my notes, I try and keep it simple. Colour is kept to a minimum (much different to how my notes were last year) and there is a bit more underlining and highlighting in the form of boxes around key words. I try and keep each section as short as possible because a consultant once told me that medicine is all about knowing a little about a lot. I also write them with the thought that if someone else at a similar stage to me in their training were to pick them up, they'd be able to learn from them and understand them straight away.


This is essentially the process I go through each time I take notes. I first skim-read the info I need to know. This is then broken down in my head where I think about how I want the relevant information to appear in my notebook and that's when I make it a reality. I use colour pretty sparingly now though I do go back and highlight things from time to time.

I know a few of you have asked me to write a post similar to this (such as a step-by-step of how my notes are made) but each time I do a study session, I'm concentrating so hard, it makes it hard to make sensible notes and take photos for a blog post at the same time.

8 comments

  1. I think your desk is actually quite neat! Mine looks like a complete mess and I find that I always have to rearrange items on it :)

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    1. You should see my desk after a study session - it's pretty messy then! :) x

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  2. I have a question: what would happen if the sticky notes were to fall out? Do you tape them in?

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    1. I've never had an issue with them if I'm honest! I just try and buy ones that are super sticky x

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  3. What is your study routine? Could you do a step by step of how you study for exams and how you memorize things?

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    1. hello! With medicine, my study routine is a bit haphazard as I know I'll never be able to learn everything for exams so I try and concentrate on topics that are 'high-yield'. I can try and write a post on how I study for exams but not sure how beneficial it would be for other subjects x

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  4. Love reading your blogs! It would be super helpful to know your study routine. Your notes always look amazing! Thanks :)

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