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How do you take CS and programming notes?

Firangiz Ganbarli
CoE student, currently learning Python 🐍
・1 min read

I am very confused on how to take notes when I am self-learning CS concepts like data structures and algorithms, or when learning about OOP concepts.

Is it better to take notes electronically or handwritten for CS? Whichever one it is for you, how do structure your notes?

Up until now, I have been taking notes in Notion because it allows pretty code snippets inside the pages, but I am beginning to doubt the effectiveness of it.

How do you take your notes?

Discussion (5)

alexf profile image
Alex F.

I also use Notion. You can also try Obsidian. Besides the code snippets, you can also put links to some tutorial, a post regarding the subject, a whimsical flow chart, etc.
While I'm struggling with a subject sure, I use handwritten notes but when I have it figured out I try to put it in Notion and try to explain it as if the next time I open the page I have forgotten everything.

firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli Author

That's a good strategy, I might have to do it handwritten and move it to a digital source. Thanks!

mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio

I had a organic chem. professor who said that one can learn 'up through your arm.'

I learned a lot of chemistry by handwriting things over and over again until I got it right.

And there is research to back it up:

firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli Author

Oh that is so true, I fully relate to it. I am just a very messy note taker, so when I cannot look over my notes later and understand it, I am discouraged.

mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio • Edited

I totally understand. I am also a VERY messy notetaker. I have come up with several methods to help. I write in large print. Writing carefully in small tight print is simply beyond my 'bear-claw' like paw. So I use three work-arounds.

  1. I use 'One-subject' note books. The spiral wire bound ones and write as large as a I want. I don't worry about crowding things together.
  2. I use LARGE drawing tablets. An artist friend turned me on to this... Go to your local art supply store and look for Large 'Newsprint' pads. (Like this) They have 18 inch by 24 inch pads for $5-15. Here again I write as big as I want and tape them to the wall if I want to refer back to them.
  3. Don't show your work to others. 'This is my work and mine alone'. It reduces my embarrassment.