My Must-Haves For Taking Notes

As a med student, taking notes takes up a big portion of my time. I usually take notes from lectures on my tablet or my computer and then organize everything nicely on paper so that I can study. 

I use Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 for taking handwritten notes. You can read more about it in the article about Samsung tablets. For typed notes I also sometimes use Galaxy Tab S6 as it comes with a keyboard, otherwise, I use hp computer that’s pretty old and slow sometimes but since I use it mostly for notes and Netflix it still works well for me.

When it comes to handwritten notes, I’m pretty picky, because I need everything organized and written nicely so that I can remember information better. I’m a visual learner so I often use different colours and pens because I can remember things faster that way.

Here are my must-haves for keeping clean notes:

1. Highlighters, Highlighters And Again, Highlighters

Highlighters are a definite must-have for me. My notes don’t function without it and I have several different colours that I use for different topics. I can’t stand more than one colour for one topic, e.g. when I was studying anatomy, I used one colour for each organ (heart, liver, lungs, groups of muscles …) and not for different structures (veins, arteries, nerves…) because it really frustrates me seeing more than one colour per topic. So, I always remembered things by colours (“oh I used green for liver”) and then I can visualise the e.g. green page and what was written there.

I own several different highlighters, but my most favourite ones are probably Zebra highlighters. I got a package of 25 colours; you can check it out here. I think almost all of them are pastel colours that I like very much and use often.

I also have a few packages of Faber – Castell highlighters that are also pretty amazing, but they are mostly florescent. I usually use florescent colours for very important topics so that I know I really have to remember everything written there. You can get your package here.

2. Pens

I use mostly black pens and sometimes blue ones, depends on my mood but I usually prefer black ones. I’m very picky about pens for some reason and it took me a while to figure out exactly which pens I want to use. This may seem silly to some of you, but I believe that some relate very much to this. 

Because I’m a leftie I have to either have a non-gel pen or a gel pen that dries quickly, otherwise my paper is a mess and I can throw it in the trash. I found some great thin gel pens that dry fast and don’t smudge even when I write fast.

I got a 0,35mm tip black gel pen and I love them and they’re also not expensive, so if you’re searching for a nice gel black pen that doesn’t smudge, I’d diffidently recommend this one. I love the fact that it’s filled to the top so it lasts long and when you use it, you don’t have to throw it away, you can just buy fillers that are also not expensive, you can find them here. They’re also available in blue colour and red I think. You can find the pen here.

If 0,35mm is too thin for you, then I got a 0,5 pentel gel pen that also doesn’t smudge so I also like to use it often that you can find here. And instead of throwing the pen away after you’ve used it, you can get fillers.

3. Paper

I love plain white paper the most. It has to be thick enough that it isn’t see-through and if it has stripes they have to be very soft, I prefer light grey or light blue so that you can barely see them because it bothers me and I can’t concentrate as much when they stand out too much.

4. Sticky Notes

I love making some side notes or summaries on sticky notes. I have different shapes, different colours, I even have some animal-themed ones and I love them all so much. I’ve used so many of them already but they’re really great for remembering things better. They have to, however, be in soft, pastel colours, I don’t like the bright ones because I feel like they’re hitting my face.

Here are the pastel ones that I have and you can also check out the animal-themed ones that I like very much here.

5. Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way for me to study and revise. I feel like I remember things much better when I make flashcards because making them is a way of studying. 

I read somewhere that writing a thing down once is equal to reading it seven times. I don’t know if that’s entirely true, different from person to person I guess but I do remember reading it.

So making the flashcards is a way of studying for me and then I revise using them so it also kinda fun and helps me remember things better. 

I use special flashcard paper that is thicker and firmer and also coloured because as I’ve mentioned probably several times already, colours help me study better.
These are the ones that I use.