Notes: Laptop, Tablet, or Paper?


Hi all, I am starting an ADN program next month, and I was wondering what do you prefer for note taking? I have been using my tablet for my past college classes, but was considering going back to a notebook and pen lol What is your experience with them in nursing school, and what do you prefer?

RN403, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,068 Posts

I used good old paper and pen. Writing out what was being said helped me pay attention better and also by physically writing things out it helped me remember the material better. But everybody has their own style of note-taking! Find what works for you. :yes:


426 Posts

It depends on the class. Some classes would provide a word doc with the outline of the notes. In those classes I would use my laptop and just add notes to the outline. In other classes I would print the outline and add handwritten notes to it. I always had a notebook with me for each class in case I needed it. In other classes I would simply create my own word doc with the notes. I found that it can be very helpful to record the lectures (with permission) and re-listen to them at home or on my hour drive to class. I also would add to my notes with everything I missed during class. I never bought a voice recorder. I just used the voice memo feature on my iPhone.

pmabraham, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 2,560 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Good day:

Stylus plus iPad along with digital recording of lectures for those that allow it.

Thank you.


234 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Stepdown, PCU.

For classes that don't provide a lecture outline, or power points to print, I will take notes on my laptop. Then I go home, print them out, organize, and write them into the notes I take from when I read the chapter and do whatever chapter work is assigned.

For classes that do provide an outline, or power points then I simply print those out and write into the margin.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

There are four predominant learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and read/write. Unfortunately, the read/write method is the style with which I learn best, so I take extensive notes by hand.

I also review the notes, read chapters, reword statements into my own words, make flashcards, and type out my handwritten notes as a way to cement what I've learned.

I actually have tried all three. I originally took my laptop with me, but it was more of a distraction than a help. So I took my iPad and tried using that. Same thing happened. Pen and paper worked best for me. I would print off the power points our teachers provided and write extra notes on those!


1 Article; 29 Posts

I was thinking about getting a MacBook

Carpediem1012, BSN, RN

1 Article; 315 Posts

Has 7 years experience.

Another hand writer here! I learn way better this way. We have power point slides to print off. I print six per page and write my notes on them. Major points get written on flash cards. Helps a lot when comes time to study for a test :)


21 Posts

Laptop and Paper (as a backup in case a battery dies, or the instructor doesn't allow electronic devices). I'm also

looking into the best solution to use my phone to record lectures. I have an hour long commute and want to put

it to good use. I always print off power points and add comments made during lectures or extra notes on them.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

LOL - you just can't beat random-access hard copy (paper and pencil) can you?

lub dub

254 Posts

Has 27 years experience.
Good day:

Stylus plus iPad along with digital recording of lectures for those that allow it.

Thank you.

I was a huge fan of taking notes with pen & paper, while recording the lecture. Next day, go over your notes while replaying the lecture. It reinforces the material, and improves your note taking by showing you what you didn't write down.