So I’ve been in school a while (literally feels like I’m never not in school…) and this is my favorite way that I’ve found to take notes! I have an iPad-well this is my second because GW “gives” us one as part of our tuition-and it’s absolutely integral to my school work. So I thought I would go into detail about why I love it so much. And yes I suck at spelling and misspelled it in my picture but I’m too lazy to fix it (oops)
So, Notability is great for a lot of reasons. In fact, my PA school strongly recommends it to the students in the PA program and buys the app for all of us (hell yeah!) I already had it from undergraduate, so I was ahead of the game in being familiar in how to use it.
Reason #1: Notability lets you download PDFs to use as the “background” of your notes. This lets you write/type/draw/whatever DIRECTLY on the PDF. Not only is it suppppperr convenient, for those of you who like to print out your notes, it gives you the option of being a little more tree conscious.
Reason #2: the writing feature is great! I love handwriting. I think I learn and retain material a lot better than when I type. Notability gives you three options with writing. You can write directly on the screen with it being however big you want it to be, you can zoom in on the screen to write in a smaller area, or you can hit the magnifier on the bottom of the screen to make a “box”. That is personally what I like to use. It lets me write at a normal size and very legible.
Reason #3: the snazzy scissors tool. So I literally use this tool ALL the time. It lets you copy/cut/paste your own handwriting. You can also change the size of the writing by spreading the circle and the orientation of it on the screen (how I wrote diagonally in the picture). Finally, it lets you change the color of the pen you wrote with.
Reason #4: I like that I also have a nice tool for typing. The typing setting allows you to chose three “favorite” settings. This can be different colors/sizes/fonts. You also have buttons for list formats, indentation, etc. You name it on a word processor, and it’s probably there on Notability. You can literally type anywhere and everywhere on the page
Reason #5: you can hit that awesome microphone at the top and record what is going on around you. I like to do this sometimes when we’re learning super hard material.
Reason #6: you can organize your notes into subjects and folders. You can also upload your notes directly to google drive (TOTALLY do this, this is how I back up all of my information) or email. You can convert files to PDF format for submission
Reason #7: it’s not too fancy. We’ve all tried something that sounds so great and then we realize it’s way more work than we want to do on a regular basis. This is very user friendly and nice to use. Great for taking notes (which is what you need it for duh!)
Reason #8: it’s fun for boredom as well. I like to draw all the time on it with the highlighter tool and make backgrounds for my iPad (can you tell how much I love Biochemistry lectures)
Things I don’t like:
#1: I can’t search my notes. This would be super helpful and I know that some notes (Evernote and it’s family) give you the option to do this. I figure the good outweighs the annoyance here
#2: you have to pay for it. Since I’ve had this since undergrad, I had already bought the app before arriving at GW. So I didn’t get mine for free. But, every update is free and the app doesn’t charge you for things in it (except for themes but you don’t need those)
#3: sometimes it crashes. But I back mine up with Google Drive so no worries there
#4: there’s no Mac app. BUT WAIT. THEY JUST RELEASED IT. Like literally this past week. I haven’t touched it so I can’t tell you my thoughts.
Overall, I think Notability is a good investment for taking notes. I know I’ve enjoyed it the past 5 years, and I do think it’s helped me get where I am today. I definitely will say that using the handwriting takes time to get used to as it’s different then pen and paper, but it’s totally doable. I also use an Adonit Jot Script Sylus which is HEAVEN. It’s Bluetooth and works like a charm to make my handwriting as normal as writing with paper as possible. Kind of an investment, so I would try out Notability first to see if you love it *which you will*
Alright friends, happy studying