how do you take notes

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bartleby
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how do you take notes

Postby bartleby » Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:45 pm

i don't know how to take notes. my notes in college were just bullets with notes - i never outlined. ever.

i'm willing to put time in this summer to learn how to outline effectively.

this is not a joke.

abudaba
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby abudaba » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:43 pm

I was in the same boat going into law school and was concerned about it - but I assure you, it should not be a disadvantage (at least it was not for me). You will need to learn how to take notes and organize the information eventually, but at the outset, the race for top grades will be determined by who is quickest to figure out what is important and why/how. So in the early stages of law school, a master note taker may have beautifully organized notes, only to find out in November that everything he took down was utterly irrelevant for exams. Others wont even realize their notes are garbage until much later (if ever).

So at the start, bullets will be fine. Focus on taking down what you perceive as important. You will not even be able to figure out how it fits together properly until much later. Eventually as you get better at learning law, the ability to organize will follow.

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zeth006
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby zeth006 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:34 pm

Each class is going to differ. In the classes where the profs give you powerpoints to follow during class, you'll have an easier time not having to type down what's already on the slides.

But the policy-heavy profs admittedly tend to be a bit tricky.

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Lawquacious
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby Lawquacious » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:38 pm

On the computer :wink:










.... seriously though, 1st semester I carefully briefed everything (or almost everything) and then tried to work in the class notes in a lot of cases. This semester I just write down most of what I can catch from each lecture (unless basically off topic or just hypo stuff), and then plan on reading through the notes prior to testing.

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Rock Chalk
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby Rock Chalk » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:45 pm

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Last edited by Rock Chalk on Thu May 24, 2012 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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traehekat
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby traehekat » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:03 am

If the professor spends a lot of time lecturing and explaining things I tend to take a lot of notes in class. When I start to outline I go back through everything I wrote and just make a judgment call of whether or not it's worth putting whatever I wrote down into my outline.

My actual outline ends up being probably 65% stuff from commercial outlines/hornbooks/old outlines, 20% stuff from the casebook, and 15% stuff the professor said in class that I wrote down in my notes.

The idea is make sure you know the law, whether you can get it from the cases or notes in the casebook, or a commercial outline, and then sprinkle in stuff from class that gives you an idea how your professor thinks about the law. At least that is what has worked for me.

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introversional
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby introversional » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:16 am

This is a serious question:

Can you use a digital voice recorder in class?

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Olympus+-+V ... &cp=1&lp=4

$40 bucks- 2gig/1200 hours of recording time.

luckyduck
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby luckyduck » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:48 am

introversional wrote:This is a serious question:

Can you use a digital voice recorder in class?

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Olympus+-+V ... &cp=1&lp=4

$40 bucks- 2gig/1200 hours of recording time.

most of my professors do not allow it.

I have classes that I note almost everything the professor says because that particular professor disagrees with the cases we read or wants us to memorize something 'his way'. I have other classes that I just brief the case and highlight the parts the professor goes over in class.

I agree with noting catch phrases and using them on the finals.


I couldn't live without my onenote though!

jacquibala
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby jacquibala » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:30 pm

zeth006 wrote:Each class is going to differ. In the classes where the profs give you powerpoints to follow during class, you'll have an easier time not having to type down what's already on the slides.

But the policy-heavy profs admittedly tend to be a bit tricky.


I agree, it definitely depends by class. For some classes, I found typing up my notes to be effective, but I also like handwriting notes so for those classes, I actually developed shorthands so I could take notes faster. As I got to know the professor and their lingo, I got a better idea of how to take notes depending on what class I was taking them in.

alumniguy
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby alumniguy » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:50 pm

There is no "right" method to note taking. Law school, in fact, involves several different kind of note taking. As with any other class, the purpose of notes is to remember key information and this is true in law school as well.

The first general category of note taking is when you do the readings before the class. The trick here is to be able to easily find the information when you are in class - i.e., the parties, key facts, the court's holding, the court's rationale, and possibly policy implications. In my experience, taking notes in this instance is more about you getting to understand the cases (or at the very least, having them written down so that you know the components to the case - even if it doesn't really make sense).

In-class notes are going to be much less structured and you're goal should be to write down anything that is (i) new information and (ii) important information. As a 1L (especially you're first few months of class), it will be difficult to know what is the important information so you'll probably end up with massive class notes that contain a lot of extra information that is unneeded. Once you've been at it for a while, you'll probably be able to intuit pretty regularly what is important and unimportant information. One suggestion I would have regarding class notes is that you RETYPE your class notes into something that is remotely cognizable. Often times professors will jump around and not present information in the most straightforward manner. The re-typing of the class notes will allow you to organize the information that you know. If it is possible, I would recommend doing this on a regular basis. The last thing you want to do is to be 2 weeks from finals and just starting to organize materials. At the same token, organizing materials from the get go is probably a waste of time because you need to have some understanding of the particular legal area and how it is generally organized before you start organizing yourself. I can't stress enough that the purpose of reorganizing is to actually THINK about the material and to start making connections. If you aren't thinking and merely retyping, it is useless to do so.

The last type of note taking is the outline - which really is a combination of your reading notes and in-class notes. I recommend reviewing other outlines before starting; however, you should be creating your outline from scratch. You need to think about the issues and how to organize the information. Law school exams are typically complete s***shows that involve wild facts and scenarios. You need to be able organize the information that is presented to you.

Most (all?) law schools have typed tests and I don't see a reason why you should be hand writing notes - I do recognize that some professors ban computers and in that case you should hand write of course. However, if you aren't typing and other students are, then you will undoubtedly be missing information.

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dood
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby dood » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:51 pm

i write backwards looking into mirror so no one can read my precious outline.

forty-two
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby forty-two » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:04 pm

alumniguy wrote:Most (all?) law schools have typed tests and I don't see a reason why you should be hand writing notes - I do recognize that some professors ban computers and in that case you should hand write of course. However, if you aren't typing and other students are, then you will undoubtedly be missing information.

I don't understand what typing tests has to so with handwriting notes. Most people at my school take notes on their computers, but some people (including some people with very good grades) hand write. They say they like handwriting because it forces them to pay attention all class every class, and it forces them to actually think about what they write down rather than just transcribe what the prof is saying.

So just do what works for you...you won't be at a disadvantage either way.

alumniguy
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby alumniguy » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:25 pm

forty-two wrote:I don't understand what typing tests has to so with handwriting notes. Most people at my school take notes on their computers, but some people (including some people with very good grades) hand write. They say they like handwriting because it forces them to pay attention all class every class, and it forces them to actually think about what they write down rather than just transcribe what the prof is saying.

So just do what works for you...you won't be at a disadvantage either way.


My point was simply that if you are handwriting notes, you're probably missing information that is being conveyed in class. To be able to hand write your notes means your likely understanding everything in class, and I don't think that is the case for most law school students.

I don't think typing tests has anything to do with it, you're right.

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mths
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Re: how do you take notes

Postby mths » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:39 pm

I find that taking whatever you can down in class helps. I usually end up with about 100 pages of notes per class. Then, to outline, I open the casebook, supplement, my notes, and some sample outlines (hopefully keyed to the class). My outlines are a mix of all these.

Having said that, I can't imagine how you could "learn to outline" before 1L starts.




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