In my first 2 years of medical school I was taking notes more as means of keeping all of my bits of information on a particular topic all in one place. So the notes were basically a compilation of lectures, things I learnt in the anatomy sessions, information from online resources/youtube videos. I didn’t class my typed notes as a form of actually revising, they were more just there for completeness and information-gathering. If you’re going to create very complete notes (as I did in this sense) then typing is definitely most effective because it’s so much faster, easier to keep adding things to and also easier to incorporate information from online resource (which were my main go-to).

However, in terms of note-taking as a form of active studying, I used to create sketches a lot and brief one-page summaries. Here are some examples:

In order to make these notes I was stripping information down to the backbone and the thought process of making it so brief helped me with learning and remembering the notes I had made. For these notes, I was re-organising content in a different way and thinking of everything I had learnt from a different perspective so that’s what made it an active learning process and hence why I think this form of note-taking is much more effective than just the typing alone.

Now, in 3rd year, I haven’t made any form of complete set of notes (as I did in the years before). Instead I converted everything I needed to know into a q and a format and put it into flashcards. I then created some brief page summaries – both of these forms were active as they encouraged me to actually think and re-organise the content rather than just copy and type.


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Posted by:Life of a Medic

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