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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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children of dune - leto 1
Question for the sciency people--or the people who take their science classes seriously.

There is this thing? Where people taking notes use *multiple colored pens* to do their notes. I'd noticed it before in class when I was younger and did not care and had no study method. I now have a study method--or building one, anyway.

Why is that? What's the pattern on it? As it seems to work, or so a million science students seem to think.

*grins* I guess some people don't need to becuase they retain well? I really don't, so--well, notes.

Given that in the 4 years I was at Uni, I had a different method for note-taking/organising every year - none of which worked particularly well - I may not be the best person to give advice. However, I'm pretty sure that at one point, I took notes in multi-colours, and I think the logic was something like actual notes/knowledge in one colour, examples in another (proofs, calculations, solving equations, whatever), reading/'homework' in another.

I may also have written equations that were part of the notes in a different colour so they stand out. In fact, most/all of the writing-things-in-different-colours is so that you can see what's what.

Hmmm. Good method.

*makes note. In black text*

personally, it's a way to mentally categorize in my mind as well as on paper. Different colors for the overall concept, then regular pen for notes, then a special color again for key ideas within the body of information. when i look over my notes again, i can quickly see the different hierarchy of information, see what i thought was important at the time (like highlighting, but PRETTIER) and it makes the review process go more smoothly.

Of course, I know plenty of people who don't bother with different colors at all. Making pretty color words also helps me concentrate in class.

*nods* I mostly like the color idea because it will make reviewing easier and also keep me focused--the effort of changing colors to somethign else will make me pay closer attention to what I'm writing, since I can sort of take notes through an etnire class and never really hear a single thing teh professor says. *g*

Different colors, different types of pens-- it all helps you quickly find something by sight!

My personal method is to scribble everything down in class, because... info! Coming fast! When I have time to compile it, I will color-code both by topic and by form.

(Hi, I didn't take any science classes but psych; I am not good with specifics here.)

I cannot recommend highly enough the Pilot Liquid Ink Razor Point pens, which you can get an eight-pen set of at Staples for $10. They write smoothly and cleanly, there's minimum bleed-through, and generally, using those, my writing is more exact than when I'm scribbling with a ballpoint.

If you don't feel like doing the multi-pen thing, there's also the option of going through after taking the notes with a few colors of highlighters and drawing large, emphatic colored arrows. Or doing BOTH.

It's been four years since I last took a class, and I still can't bring myself to get rid of my Latin notes. They're too pretty.


*slinks off*

Oooh higlighting! *makes note*

(Deleted comment)
*makes note of this* that makes sense.

I never used different colours when I took notes. Well, I tried once, and there were many pens, and there was dropping of pens, and... yeah. Not my best strategy! I did highlight notes in different colours when I reviewed, though.

hee! God, that will probably be me too. *sighs*

I never used different colored pens because it took too much time and I kept losing the pens. Instead, I went back while I was reviewing my notes and highlighted the important stuff. Definitions and formulae got one color, examples got another.

*nods* that makes sense.

You can do it in English, too. And anthropology. It's simply colour-coding the types of information: key ideas, supporting details,vocabulary. It involved the section of the brain that is visual, as opposed to language. The more of your brain involved in making a memory, the better the memory.


Hmm. True. I wonder how I used to do my notes for English?

I need to go see fi I have those notebooks still.

I helps me remember, that's why I did stuff like that. I can remember stuff quicker if I have visual clues.

It's not just the scientists! I used to colour code my notes for history, especially when I was researching my dissertation. I had whole A4 files full of paper which was covered in highlighter/gel pen/crayon/whatever colour-thing I had to had to code what qote was going to go in what section.

It's a pattern recognition and multiple association thing, though the pattern/color usage can be highly variable and individualized. Since you are grouping related facts together, theoretically when you retrieve one fact, you tend to retrieve the related items more easily due to multiple associations. And if you can pair the categories with colors that have a built-in connection there is an extra layer of reinforcement, e.g. notes on plant life written in green, notes on the circulatory system written in red.

If you do decide to use a color/category method, I would strongly recommend that you take notes in one color (black/blue ink or pencil) and then color code the notes after reviewing them, using different colored highlighters. Much easier than trying to juggle a variety of colored pens while taking notes - and you're more likely to make accurate and more complete categories with a review than on the fly.

From someone who majored in genetics, here's how my note taking went (yes, I had a system):

One colour for notes. One colour for diagrams (eg. bacteria, DNA, cell cycles, etc...). One colour for notes/labelling of the diagram (optional).

I found it easier to understand my notes, weeks later, if I knew that the red 'oxygen lost here' referred to the (black) carbon atom circled on the glucose molecule I had drawn, and not the (blue) notes on cellular respiration just below it.

Also, no more than three coloured pens - the one that you're using, while holding the other(s) in the opposite hand (makes it easier to switch out). And this probably goes without saying, but nothing sparkly. Dear God, no sparkly pens!

Yes. Me = geek.

My ears perked up at genetics. I did my focus in micro since we didn't have a strong enough undergrad genetics program for me to do just that. What was your thesis on?

For Organic Chemistry class we were required to get four-color clicky-pens to copy the molecule pictures. Clicking them was the best part of Orgo, for me (I switched to pass/fail second semester to avoid overwhelming shame).

Aha, you took mine :D Biochemistry was the same way.

When I have only a single color pen at my disposal, I have a system of stars, underlines, boxes and arrows to label things which need attention (underline is for the key phrase or concept that sums everything up, boxes are for new section starts, arrows are to remind me to LOOK THERE, and stars are things which require action i.e. "read chapter 4 by friday".

Oh, geez. I had a pencil case with regular and colored pencils for all of undergrad (math degree) and have rotated colored inks since seventh grade for social science classes.

For me, it was to make it easier to find stuff later -- with the inks, it was the quickest way to see where one session ended and another began. With my math classes, it was essentially underlining except with colors. I didn't make my definitions orange or my proofs green or anything that complicated. Occasionally, I would break out another color to make a note in the margin, but that was an exception.

I remember I had a 4-in-1 clicky pen that I used to take notes, but I have no idea how I organized the colors. I think it was in line with the categorization mentioned above, but wow. No clue on the mechanics.

I still remember how valance shells work, though, so it might have helped?

YOU. Yes, I was hoping you'd fall into my clutches with your wistful mentions of surivivng organic chemistry.

....you don't remember? *wide eyes* I wonder if once I'm in class, a natural sort order will occur.

Also, horror. I cannot write legibly anymore. All my notes so far in fundamentals are all tiny caps. I'm so not joking. I tried to do it normally and in cursive and it was utterly unreadable in all ways. Gah.