How I organised my iPad Pro: Week 1 of a new semester

I don’t follow a concrete organisational protocol. I just have principles that help me keep everything in its proper place. Basically, I use five types of apps:

  1. Cloud service: for all the lecture material that I get from my professors. I chose Google Drive for this.
  2. PDF reader: for my textbooks and personal study sessions. I picked LiquidText for that. Find out why I stopped using LiquidText a few years later.
  3. Note-taking app: for my rough notes (the ones I take in class and during lectures). I use Notability Noteful. My classes are six hours long, and preparing for them is a lot of work that requires an efficient app, so I can get the most done with the least effort. That app for me is Notability. I write fastest in Notability, and the recording feature ensures I don’t miss anything my professors say. Find out why I stopped using Notability in 2021.
  4. Note-taking app: for my final study notes during my personal study time. For this, I chose Note Always.
  5. File manager: to store all my notes.

For this cycle, I am only using the first three: Google Drive, LiquidText, and Notability. When studying on my iPad alone, I use LiquidText on the right half of the screen and Notability on the left.

Surgery is a complicated subject, and I always find that there are concepts I don’t grasp when preparing for classes. That makes my professor’s comments and questions very important if I am to get a full picture of what I need to learn. That’s why Notability’s audio recording feature is indispensable to me.

My personal study sessions involve reading and jotting down some rough notes, organising them in a way that makes sense to me. I use different colours for emphasis to highlight difficult terms and important information. Symbols and abbreviations help me learn new concepts faster. I search for definitions on Google when my notes and textbooks are difficult for me to understand.

By the end of my first week, I had a lot of Surgery rough notes on my iPad. I also got a write-up assignment. I spoke to my professor, asking for permission to do the assignment on my iPad and just print out a copy for him. I didn’t waste my time on an assignment he’d want me to redo in traditional ink. Usually, I’d just do it and protest when the professor refused to mark it, but that requires a lot of energy, which I don’t have at the moment.

When he agreed, I was ecstatic. I didn’t have to go out and buy paper just to complete one assignment. Writing assignments on paper is a daunting task these days. My university makes us write assignments on plain white paper. I can’t even write straight sentences without paper guidelines! On the iPad, I can remove the lines when printing.

For assignments that I need to print out, I use Notability’s native pages. I also make sure I use an A4 paper size to get a realistic preview of how my notes will look when I print them. To achieve that in landscape, I use the split view 1:3 ratio to avoid zooming in when writing. When I was done with the assignment, I sent it to a friend for printing. I need to get a printer for my assignments. Seriously. 

I change the paper template to plain white for printing. Then I convert it to PDF, airdrop it to my iPhone, and forwarded it to my friend on WhatsApp. She then printed it out for me and gave it to me in class the next day. Sweet human!

For printing, I switch the paper template to plain white. I then convert it to PDF, Airdrop it to my iPhone, and WhatsApp it to a friend. The next day in class, she gave it to me printed out. Sweet person!

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