how to take notes on a computer

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Let's talk about some basic rules to type your notes or create digital notes:

1. While typing your notes, it's recommended to keep a fairly simple layout and color coding scheme. Using different fonts, sizes and colors creates a batch of very distracting notes, which makes revision a harder process. A useful tip is to create your own style guide and stick to it until the end of the semester. A style guide is a set of standards for the writing, formatting and design of documents and for school notes it should be quite simple: just decide on a font, size, formatting rules and a color code to use for examples, titles, questions and terminology. Use your style guide throughout the year to create comprehensive study materials.

2. Also, unless you're planning on sharing your notes with your class, it's important to keep in mind that your writing style should be yours and not mimick anyone else's. This is important because writing in a style you're familiar with and using prompts and simplified language can improve revision *a lot.* Even if your notes don't sound as fancy as your textbook or a transcription from one of your classes, they should be minimal enough to allow you to grasp the main contents of the lectured material in a short amount of time. This is particularly hard to do with typed or digital notes since you're probably able to type faster than you write, which creates a tendency to overcomplicate sentences and typing more information than you should.

3. Tied to our last rule is the importance of transcribing key concepts in your own words. Besides helping you understand these concepts better through a simplified language, it also helps you create your own style, which can be useful in essay-type questions or papers that require you to use those same concepts. If you're in a very formal course that requires you to give a formal definition widely accepted by the scientific definition, it's a good idea to write that definition in one color and then transcribing it into your own words below it. Your own text helps you connect that concept with the rest of the learning materials while at the same time highlighting that that definition should be memorized for a correct answer. For the rest of the information, focus more on formatting, abbreviations and comprehensive information than grammar rules or complete sentences.

4. In the same way, adding learning aids (something intended to enhance learning and retention by the learner) in your notes will improve your learning experience. Learning aids can include (1) questions created to structure your notes better or small summaries ot the topic, (2) visual aids like charts, tables and small mindmaps, (3) voice memos (4) the inclusion of problems or other assignments where those concepts were used in a more practical manner and (5) small graphs, symbols and even emojis to create visual distinctions between concepts or keywords. As we've mentioned earlier, OneNote makes it really easy to include all of these in your notes via a drag-and-drop interface so you should really use these features to obtain notes that are as complete as you can make them.
5. Indenting information, also known as outlining, is a classical way to organize information and something really easy to do in digital format. It creates a hierarchy between general and more particular or specific information. The information at the top is usually the most relevant and contains the core concepts of the topic, while the information at the bottom of the indentation consists on useful examples or details that show a more complete knowledge of the subject. A complete set of notes made up of outlines can structure the entirety of your class topic and at the same time organize all of your notes.


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