How I take digital notes for Maths
I am currently a first year student studying Maths and Physics. Ever since I started at Warwick I have been looking for a way to digitalise my notes and cut down on my paper consumption – and I have found the perfect solution for me.
I dread to think how many Oxford Campus Refill Pads I have gone through over the years, particularly how many pages have ended up in the bin after hours of trying to solve a problem. However paper has always seemed to be the only option for us Maths students (unless we spent hours learning LaTeX only to find we have put a $ or a bracket in the wrong place – the pain!).
I bought myself an iPad and Apple Pencil a few years ago to write out notes in an effort to save paper and time. However my iPad notes felt messy and I really wanted my own set of typed notes. Here is where I discovered “Notability” and its incredible “Math Conversion” tool. This tool enables you transform handwritten Apple Pencil notes into typed LaTeX style notes. You can also convert handwriting to text so are able to make your notes look really good. The app also integrates really seamlessly with other Apple devices such as a MacBook, it is also great for adding images such as graphs from Geogebra. Below is an example page from some lecture notes I have taken.
The app also has many other great features such as a document scanner (similar to Microsoft Lens) which is really useful for helping to submit handwritten assignments. You are also able to import and annotate other documents which I find really useful.
How I set out my Maths notes
In terms of how I actually write out my notes, I find colour very useful. I will set out my notes in the following way:
- Pink – Definitions, Theorems, Lemmas, etc
- Blue – Proofs
- Purple – Examples
- Green – Notation
I also use different colours for the title of each chapter which makes it really easy to find what I am looking for when it comes to revision. With exams being online and open book it is more important than ever that our notes are easily accessible and we can find a given theorem at a moments notice. When I make a set of notes I use a range of sources such as the lecture videos, lecture notes and textbooks. For each chapter I create a summary page with all of the information that is the most important (and also the things that I often forget!), which is, again, very useful to refer to in exam situations.
Hopefully this post has been useful for anyone wanting to branch into the ‘paperless’ world. I still enjoy doing my assignments and exams on paper however I love using notability for working out and then writing it up formally on paper. I suppose anything is better than ordering 5 new pads of paper every fortnight!