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Being Organized

On this Page

  • How we learn and memory
  • Taking notes: importance, apps and digital note taking, love your notes...
  • Graphic Organizers Worksheets
  • Our team likes...
  • Time management
  • Create your own quizzes and tools
  • Tools for presentations
  • Reference Managers
  • College admissions
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Before adopting any strategy to get better organized, make sure you get plenty of sleep so you can run at your full potential.

The following are free apps you can use to get organized.

See also books on how to learn:
(available at Calgary Public Libraries)


See also Study Tips and Learning Methodologies.


The Importance of Taking Notes

Notes helps you distill large volumes of content.

While you create your notes, you may realize that some areas of your knowledge contain gaps and will lead you to track down the parts that need further exploration.

Imagine making notes from this book:

This text book has more than 1,000 pages. Would you attempt to read this book again before exam? How about solving all the suggested exercise in it?

Let's say you have 3 days to prepare and you are able to study 8 hours each day. Covering the 1,000 pages in this amount of time is equivalent to processing 41.66 pages an hour:

1,000/(3*8) = 1,000 pages/24 hours = 41.66 pages an hour

This is not a realistic goal. Summarizing the important content and having shortcuts to problem solving methods and examples will cut down on the amount of time and help focus on the main ideas.

You should use the method of note taking that you are most comfortable with. Sometimes a blend of many methods works best.

When dealing with large volumes of information, you will find that having your own indexing method speeds up finding frequently used content. This will support repeated reviews and solidify your memory.



Best Notes Taking Apps


Types of Notes

Notes & Learning  
Cornell Notes

A Guide to Cornell Notes

The Outlining Method Five Note taking Methods (PDF link)

Charting Note Taking 101 (PDF link)

The Sentence Method
Feynman Technique
("The Great Explainer")


Love Your Notes...

For artistic students, loving your notes can make studying more interesting. Working on notes can make one remember more. Placing the notes nearby to glance at, will enforce repeated reviews and help memorizing.

Just remember, investing in the visual appeal of your notes is not always applicable. In a crunch you should not spend too much time beautifying but rather focus on making your summaries accessible.


Here are a few examples we really like:

Are you scanning papers in class and trying to organize them on your cell phone? Here is one way you can do it, use Scanbot to sort them into folders based in topics and classes you take.



Digital Note Taking

One app for note taking is MS OneNote. It has a desktop and an online version, both are free.


Our Team Really Likes...

We really like MS OneNote, the Desktop version. It has tabs on top, page titles and hierarchies on the side. Most important features: create hyperlinks within oneNote so you can jump from topic to topic and create an index of your resources.And than there is the inking for the digital pen, which performs really well and has lots of options for color, pen thickness, etc.

Read more: PC World OneNote article

5 Essential Apps for Every PhD Student

Watch the video on the left to hear commentary on

- Evernote (digital notes taking)
- Reference Managers: Mendeley (free) and EndNote (purchase)
- Vector Image editor: Keynote
- Calendar (Google Calendar is free)
- Additional Word Processors: MS Word.


Another free online tool is Google Keep. This tool is great for sharing notes with other users.


If you prefer to use this app on your phone, here are some tips.


Graphic Organizers Worksheets


College Admissions

College admissions


Problems? Loosing Too Much Time?

Inside the Mind of a Procastinator (Tim Urban)



Academix: Study, Explore, Engage...