Note Taking

Note Taking

It’s impossible to find a 100% fool proof way to study. The real key to being able to study anything is good notes. I do my best to work it a thousand different ways, from definition sheets to drawing things out in my uncharacteristically shiny pens. So far I’ve been having a hard time with the proportions of body parts, it’s easy to know the names of parts and functions but being able to understand where something is and where it’s parts begin to stray from a direct path into many new ones can feel impossible.

Here are a few basic note taking styles that you can mix and match until you find a preference for certain subjects or types of information.

Take group notes, this can be a shared google doc you and a few smart friends type on or you can take turns with note taking during lectures with people you really trust.

A more difficult method is the split page method which when mixed with crazy sized handwriting and diagrams it can become hard to interpret. But all you do is draw a line vertically down the middle of the page and take textbook notes on one side and take lecture notes that correlate on the other, this way you get the heavy technical side as well as tidbits your teacher may have to offer and a place to put topics that you didn’t know were important from the readings.

Cornell Notes are a very well known form of note taking which can be very helpful, but in public school is often used in all the wrong ways. Here’s a good place to learn the correct way of using this method, straight from Cornell University. (this site also has other study tips and tricks that can be very useful)

Pictures/ Diagrams are not only good for mapping conceptual pieces but getting a better understanding how each part of a system or chain effects work. A visual aid is a really important part of being able to understand the literal application of things.

Colored notes are a great way to visually stimulate your mind, plus when you have stock piles of notes it’s an easy way to quickly sift through them to get exactly what you need.


Picking a Science Class (College)

The transition from high school into the world of science in college can be rough. The difficulty of the material but also the amount, and level of independent learning increases. Picking the right class is an important part of success in your academic career, your choices will ultimately either keep you on track or unknowingly set you a step behind. I, unfortunately, don’t have a counselor to rely on and get concise information from. Sometimes it’s like they speak in limericks in a foreign language that has similar words but is impossible to fully understand.

If you know exactly what science field you want to go into this process becomes a lot easier, but if you don’t then where to start can be daunting. But always remember that (mostly) all of the undergrad science degrees you can get require classes in the basic 3 science categories; physics, chemistry, and biology. Hopefully your counselor can answer the number level that is best for your track if not the go for the simple or general classes that are the highest level that doesn’t have science prerequisites but do not forget to make sure they are the general class and not something specific that may not count toward your degree. If you are going into the medical field cell biology is a good place to start, something I wish I would’ve known before taking  biology 101.

The first thing to check when looking at a science class you’ve decided fits the track you want to be on is, does it have a lab? You must have a lab if you want to be in an applied science career. Depending on the school labs can be with the same professor or depending on scheduling you may have to settle for another, either way you will need to understand the inquiry process and basic scientific method, if you are taking 101 classes or introduction classes it is often taught, if not you can look it up or talk to your professor during their office hours and get extra help. The properties in your lab should be explained in your lecture, if your lecture falls behind the best thing you can do is look at your lab way before you go in. Make sure you understand the basic principles going on and look at them in your textbook, google them, or use your personal connections ( people in your lab or people who’ve taken the class). It’s a good option to ask your professor questions you have before you go into lab so that you won’t become more confused.

The final step to getting into the right science class is choosing a time and a professor. The time is all about preference, go with the time that you work best at and remember to put your hardest classes at that time. If you’ve always had an easy time in science and lab classes but an extremely difficult time in another subject then it’s safe to say the other subject will be something you put as a priority. Next, onto the professor, if you haven’t experienced the wonders of Rate My Professor then I have a life changing website linked at the bottom. Just click the link, enter your school and their name and it’ll give you reviews and overall ratings.

And that’s the basics, if you have a question or concern, comment and I will do my best to answer it or find someone who can. Thanks for reading!

Undergrad (undergraduate): The years in college before you earn a bachelor’s degree.

Prerequisites: The classes you have to take before taking the one you want, these sometimes can be overridden by test scores. Generally only in math, reading, and writing, but you will definitely have to take the science prerequisites.

Inquiry Process: The process through which we inquire (investigate, gather) information.

Scientific method: Making specific observations and searching for the process behind them.

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