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Notetaking for Technical Content

Take a look at the following examples of student notes and jot down your thoughts on the following questions:

  1. What stands out about these examples?
  2. What did you notice that you may not have considered in your own notes?
  3. What do you want to emulate in your own notes?

Table of Content Example

Image from iOS

Notes Example 1

Image from iOS (3)

Notes Example 2

Image from iOS (1)

Notes Example 3

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Notes Example 4


Notes Example 5


Notes Example 6


Notes Example 7


Tips for Technical Notetaking @ Turing

While everyone has their own style that works for them, here are some key findings we've distilled from our most successful students. We recommend implementing these strategies as you prepare for Turing and throughout Mod 0!

Setup is a key to success

Having an organization strategy can make it easier to use your notes as a tool. We recommend creating a Table of Contents to make it easier to reference your notes. Also, taking notes on key vocabulary BEFORE a lesson has been useful for some students!

Use different colors

This can help with modeling syntax highlighting, making notes easier to read, and help draw attention to different content. We are big fans of fine tip drawing pens such as these.

Leave plenty of whitespace

Having a lot of whitespace in your notebook allows you to add more context, write questions, make connections. If you are ever in doubt as to whether to cram more info on the page or start a new page in your notebook, ALWAYS go for starting a new page!

Draw and diagram often

Many concepts can be difficult to understand with just words, use drawings/diagrams to help synthesize and frame information

Pen + Paper > Digital (During Class)

We STRONGLY recommend using a paper notebook during class and advise you to not rely on taking notes on your computer during class! It can be really difficult to keep up with the pace of the lessons using a computer AND it makes it really hard to diagram/draw tricky concepts. Plus, studies have proven that you will retain more information by physically writing your notes. Remember, you will have access to all of the lesson plans ahead of time so that you aren't pressured to write everything down as it is presented!

Consider transposing your written notes to a digital format

One strategy we've seen work well for students is to dedicate 20-30 minutes each day to reviewing their written notes and transposing them to their preferred digital notetaking tool. This helps to engrain the content you covered that day and allows time to think of connections or ask questions. One benefit of having notes in a digital format is that it allows for easier searching of key terms and concepts using built-in searching tools. Some of our favorite note taking apps are Notion, Evernote, Bear and even Google Docs. Some of these require you to write in a language known as Markdown, which you will get a lot of practice with in Mod 0!

Setting Up Your Notebook

You will be needing to take notes on several of the other activities prior to Mod 0 so we reccommend you take some time to setup your notebook before continuing on to other activities. If you can afford it, we recommend getting a separate notebook for each module. Most likely, you can use one notebook for both Mod 0 and Mod 1!


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@Gabby-Recny Gabby-Recny commented May 24, 2021

What stands out about these examples?
The notes are so incredibly organized! Using color and a LOT of white space to add in additional notes for clarification. Also, having a table of contents!
What did you notice that you may not have considered in your own notes?
Using multiple colors for sure as well as the table of contents
What do you want to emulate in your own notes?
Multiple colors, extra white space (I tend to squeeze as much as I can in my papers) as well as a table of contents.


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@ehoogland ehoogland commented Jun 16, 2021

What stands out...
I wish I had been forced or urged to write things out longhand for the sake of retention. The table of contents really adds to the notes as a usable reference. After that, entering the information in digital format would be useful for both retention, search, and preservation.

What did you notice that you may not have considered in your own notes?
I like some of the fairly elaborate, playful colorized drawings which tend to "gamify" learning.
Page numbers.
Example 6: Red Major heading at top; Subheadings in blue. My notes tend to lack the major headings.

What do you want to emulate in your own notes?
The attention to detail.
The distillation which handwritten notes can encourage
Whitespace in case notes get too terse.
Explanation of concepts using flow diagrams and space to add clarification
of concepts.


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@mcharrod mcharrod commented Jul 18, 2021

What stands out?

These notes are so beautiful. I really like the use of a simple drawing to illustrate an analogy for programming and easily come back to it. The different colors on comments on chunks of information that would make it easier to review. The colored boxes to block together each concept. They are thoughtfully organized and well put - together. The table of contents is an excellent idea.

What did I notice that I might not have considered for my own notes?

lots of white space. Boxing or otherwise bordering a subject. Using different colors and little drawings to illustrate ideas.

What do I want to emulate in my own notes?

I want to use multiple colors to make things easier to read, but will have to find a balance of not using ~too many~ colors that it becomes as difficult to parse as if I had used all black or blue. Using drawings and little symbols to draw attention quickly to a concept. Using ALL CAPS to indicate a new heading and quickly move between subjects. The different colored boxes around each idea to further separate them. The table of contents and page numbers. The ample amount of room to add more notes later on.


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@CooleyNick CooleyNick commented Jul 19, 2021

What stands out about these examples?
The organization and detail are extremely easy to read and comprehend. Even being the person who didn’t take these notes, they’re easily digested and understood. When color-coding is used, it’s sensible and helps make navigation significantly simple.

What did you notice that you may not have considered in your own notes?
I feel that often times I do scribble down ideas to keep myself engaged and focused on the lecture, but often times miss valuable information while I’m trying to write down everything that “seems” important. Some of these examples are precise in their information and lack an abundance of fluff. This is something I need to focus on during my time at Turing.

What do you want to emulate in your own notes?
Much as I described above, I envy the amount of organization, clear thoughts, and only pertinent information. I want to emulate the simplicity, yet effectiveness of these notes.

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