studying taking limited notes?

G.O.A.TG.O.A.T Posts: 138Member
I have a problem, I only have two certs which are very basic.. the thing that holds me back is the note taking.. I find I endup writing the whole darn book, and endup getting frustrated with taking notes and not progressing fast enough through the book causing me to giveup on the cert.

Its very hard to summarise when all the material is relevant, can anyone offer me any advice to combat this issue? its basically holding me back, I am hoping to churn out MTA Networking Fundamentals within two weeks, I am watching the pluralsight videos and found a nice 3hr long course on MVA. I was then going to literally read the official Microsoft book, doing labs along the way without taking notes and just sitting the exam, or simply taking notes of things such as port numbers a wiring standards that I can refer back to the night before , not sure how safe this is really.. how do you all study for exams? do you basically write the whole book out?


  • Nightflier101BLNightflier101BL Posts: 134Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    There's no requirement that you have to take notes. If you find a study process that works better for you, stick with that.

    Note taking, at least for me, serves two purposes. First, it forces me to activate a different part of my brain if I hear or read something, then write it out on paper or on a laptop. I tend to remember things more easily. Second, notes serve as my personal how-to guides. I read from many different sources and watch videos from different sources. I take all the different perspectives on a particular topic and come up with my own guide with "gotchas" and things to watch for, best practices, etc.

    Sometimes, I just watch videos from a primary source and type the notes directly from their slides, take screen shots of their diagrams and put them all into one document. Then I go watch something else and if something seems interesting or makes the lightbulb turn on over my head, I add it to that document. If I read something interesting from a book, add it to the document. Run into something at work or somebody shows me something, add it to the document. I've accumulated an entire series of folders, all organized by technology and topics that I can go to when needed.

    One thing I'll mention, though, is avoid studying other people's notes. Notes are a personal thing put together with your own thoughts. Somebody's notes might make sense to them because they wrote them but may not make any sense to you. It's just more of a personal mind-**** kind of thing for me.

    Hope this helps.
  • varelgvarelg Posts: 790Banned
    Write notes that are meaningful to you. They'll stick with you longer. And they don't have to be straight lines of text. Intersperse them with drawings whenever you can. Repeatedly read them.
    It is very important to discern what is it that you already know and what is it that you need to remember/learn but is not sticking with you. Once you sift through that pile, focus on what you need to remember/learn.
    I had the same problem years ago. And now the question is: how do you decide what is meaningful to you? Is it maybe that the explanation given in the book isn't sticking with you so you need to rephrase it in your own words?
    Your notes definitely need to be succinct. Stick with that principle.
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  • TheFORCETheFORCE Posts: 2,235Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I dont take notes when studying but I take my time studying. If i focus enough on one domain to the point where I get comfortable i feel the notes are not necessary. Use what works for you, not everyone learns the same way.
  • revboxrevbox CompTIA: A+, Network+, Security+, Project+, CSA: CCSK 3.0 Little Rock, ARPosts: 90Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I write key terms for easy reference. I also jot down any information that I might need to memorize like a table, graph, model, formula, etc. I always like to keep a small notebook with me just so when I have a moment I can quickly review information/work on memorization when I'm not able to put on headphones and just zone in to videos online. Like others have stated, I also screen capture slides from Powerpoints or videos that I watch so that I don't have to write all of that information.
  • G.O.A.TG.O.A.T Posts: 138Member
    This thread has proven useful, I think you guys have made valid points. What I will do is only make notes on areas I struggle with and draw out diagrams instead of writting long sentences.I think I was going wrong by takibg notes on areas I am already comfortable with. I will try this new strategy.
  • revboxrevbox CompTIA: A+, Network+, Security+, Project+, CSA: CCSK 3.0 Little Rock, ARPosts: 90Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    It really also depends on your experience and the material. I took several pages of notes when I did the MTA Software Testing fundamentals. I've been doing software deployments as part of help desk and change management for over ten years, but that test had a ton of terms that I was unfamiliar with along with the development strategies. MTA Security on the other hand I probably wrote down a page or so of terms and that was about it because I was familiar with all of the material.
  • Phillies8607Phillies8607 Posts: 83Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    What works for me is watching a video first to get a good baseline to understand the material. Udemy has some really good videos and they can be up to 15 hours long. Trying to watch the whole course can take a longggggggg time from a few weeks to a month. Then after that, I will use a book to take notes (the more details and the longer the book the better, idc I want to understand everything for the subject). If I can get a book written by the same person who's videos I watched then that makes it even better. This way I have a good understanding of the material after watching the videos and not taking notes. And when I go to read the book and take notes, its not that hard to grasp the material and I am able to more easily understand the more detailed concepts.

    As far as taking notes from a book, there's a few useful ways I can think of that might help you. As you're reading a page, either highlight important sentences with a highlighter or use a pen to put a little dash next to important sentences in the left-hand column. Then after you've read a page or two or even the whole chapter, you can go back through and look at the sentences you've highlighted or put a dash. You'll probably notice at this point that everything you marked important doesn't need to be written down and you can more easily summarize what you picked. My process might be a little bit lengthier than most people's but it helps me go over the material a few times as I go along (this is all before I do a final review in the few weeks before the exam). Just my two cents and this is what works for me. Hope this helps!
  • Phillies8607Phillies8607 Posts: 83Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Oh and it definitely helps to put into practice what you are learning as you are going through the material
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Posts: 2,013Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I had the same issue. Technically, it's still an issue but not as bad.

    I've improved by getting ebooks and printing them. Then, instead of taking notes in a different notebook, I highlight instead. I have 3 different highlight colors and each color means something different to me. Orange/Pink = definitions. Yellow = this is noteable. Green/Blue = command or actionable tip.

    If it's something I really want to write a note on, I'll do it in the margins and try to write it in my own words.

    When I was starting out, I'd often write the entire book in my notes too. Everything was new to me. Additionally, it was hard for me to determine what was important and what wasn't. And often times, even if I knew something wasn't important, I found it cool and wanted to remember it anyway.

    As you progress in your IT career, lot of higher level concepts are built on top of lower level concepts. A lot of things are repeated as well. You'll have much less need to take as much notes as you did before.
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  • LexluetharLexluethar Posts: 516Member
    It depends on the person and how they study but definitely do not treat this like a college course, it's too much information and will overwhelm you. I just take notes in my book when something stands out or key terms. I also underline a lot and dog ear pages that I feel are important. This gives me the ability to open any dog ear pages and get a quick review.
  • roybakerroybaker Posts: 1Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    The Cornell Note Taking Technique is one of the most popular and effective methods for taking down notes for all kinds of subjects. It’s especially useful for studying and taking notes right from a textbook.
  • joemc3joemc3 Posts: 141Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I struggle with the same. My note taking is awful as in I don't take notes at all. I have managed to pass all my certs so far, but I feel it will come back to bite me in due time. When I do attempt to take notes it ends up being the book.......
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