NOTE-TAKING IN MEDICAL SCHOOL

Updated: Oct 10, 2018

So this is a very much requested blog post and I’ve been very excited to share my technique of note-taking. It’s nothing special but has proven effective for me in time past and has helped me to learn and consolidate my knowledge. It’s a 4 stage process for me, so here is the breakdown.

1. Note-taking before the lecture

  • If the lecture slides are released earlier, making notes of the lecture content is great for gaining exposure to the topic before the lecture. This can also guide your pre-reading, so you may decide to watch a YouTube video or read a specific chapter in a textbook to introduce you to the topic. I wouldn’t say this is compulsory but it is very useful in the long run.

2. Note-taking during the lecture

  • For the majority of the time, you will have access to the slides if not before the lecture, then after the lecture.

  • Whilst making your notes in the lecture focus on what the lecturer is saying, they often mention things that aren’t in the slides so pay attention.

  • I try and write down as much as possible, whether relevant or not as I don’t want to risk missing out important information that can make my process of understanding a lot quicker.

  • Always make notes of headings and they are good in the future for structural organisation

3. Note-taking after the lecture

  • Go back to the slides and fill in my notes (where I have missed any information out)

  • I also listen to the recording if needs be, to again add to my notes things I may have misheard during the lecture

  • I then do some further reading using relevant textbooks but I also make sure I don’t go into too much detail

  • An alternative to hitting the textbooks is watch YouTube videos; these are great for animations and are very concise

  • Any additional information I gain I incorporate into my notes

4. Note-taking for revision purposes

  • I condense my lecture notes by making them fit on one side of an A4 sheet of paper on my laptop (1 and a 1/2 sides at most) to consolidate my knowledge)

  • Then I make my mind-maps using these condensed lecture notes in my sketchpad

  • An alternative to making mind maps is making flash cards

ALL ABOUT MY MINDMAPS

As my course is Case Based, this makes organising my mind maps a lot easier. Each case so far has covered a particular sector e.g. Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Neurological and Women’s Health. I have also covered the basic sciences so some of them have their own mind maps e.g. Pain & Nociception, Immunity, Nutrition etc.

Why do I make mind-maps