3 Ways to Take Notes in Med School

Medical school is quite the jump from high school (if you are an undergrad) and even your undergraduate degree to some extent.  I experimented different ways to take notes and decided to share my top three favourite ways.  All three methods will require a laptop or even a tablet with a keyboard that you can take into lectures.  I am going to mention my methods from least to best note-taking strategy. 

Third Place: Copying the slides into a Word document.  

This is the most time-consuming method, which is why it is third place.  In the picture below, you can see my lecture slide on the left and the word document on the right.  In this case, I copied the slide into the word document the day before the lecture.  I understand that isn't possible for everyone so if your lectures aren't released until after it is given, I would spend that evening copying the slides into my word document.  

During the lecture, I will type out verbatim what the lecturer is saying under each heading.  This enables me to have context and saves time having to re-listen to the lecture.  I can revisit the lecture months after it happened, and my notes will still be comprehensible.   Overall, this was a very beneficial method for my exams, but I did find that it was very time consuming. I used this method throughout my first term for two dense modules and it did help me learn the material but sometimes having too much information can be overwhelming and impede on my understanding of the topic.


  • All of your information is in one place so it is easy to access.  Your word document can be downloaded onto your phone to read on the go, or your tablet for example.  Therefore, easy to transfer your notes. 
  • You can print out your notes with ease. 
  • You can always go back and add more information from further reading under the relevant subheading. 
  • Notes are always comprehensible and tell the full story. 
  • Risk of information surplus but can be mitigated by bullet pointing anything that was on the lecture slide (key points) and leaving extra information in a paragraph below to provide context.   Hence, only learn the bullet points for examinations. 
  • Very time consuming to copy out the lectures the night before, especially when you have multiple subjects the next day. 
  • Involves a lot of passive note taking, so this method doesn't enable you to learn as you go as effectively.  
Second Place: Adding Comments on PDFs

Most lecture slides are a PDF at my universities but I have seen some that are powerpoint.  This method can work for both powerpoint decks and PDFs.  On powerpoint, you will have a little 'comments' section underneath each slide which you can type extra information that the lecturer is saying to do the same as the third place method: provide context and increase understanding.  What I love about this method is that it is quick, easy, and requires no preparation the night before.  Furthermore, all the information you need will be in one place like the word document, however in a different format.  This will save time in the long run and means you can spend more time actually learning the material.  

In the picture below I highlighted with a pink circle which icon you should press to add annotations or comments, and then at the end of the arrow, you will see what icon will appear (a yellow speech box). 


When you hover over the yellow speech icon, the information you typed will be visible.  

  • All of your notes are in one place, similar to the word document.  
  • No preparation prior or after the lecture is required (unless you have to re-listen to the lecture).  More time spent actively learning material rather than passively making notes.
  • Notes can also be verbatim similar to the word document. 
  • The annotations can be useful during revision by acting as a flash card- you can test your understanding of the material and hover to check if you explained or said everything regarding that slide. 
  • Annotations are not visible when transferring documents to tablets or phones, so can only revise on the laptop. 
  • Cannot print all of notes as annotations won't be seen in printouts.
  • Difficult to share notes with peers. 
First Place: Separate word document and PDF

This final method is the one I am adapting this term.  This involves a fusion of the last two systems I just shared.  The reason why this is first is because it requires no preparation, similar to second place, so it increases the time available for active revision and studying.  On top of that, having a separate word document enables you to potentially adapt the third place method should you want to in the future.  You can share your notes with peers and transfer your notes onto other devices which enables flexibility.  

On the left you can see the lecture hand out slide, and on the right you can see my document which has verbatim notes by the lecturer.  I did not copy over the lecture slides onto that document. Lecturers usually expand on what is said on the slide to improve our understanding of the information.  Thus, this method will also separate key points (on the slide) from excess material to prevent information overload.

  • No prior passive preparation needed so more time spent learning the material. 
  • Allows you to interchange between third place and second place methods should you want all information in one place.  You can always add more information to the document later.
  • Separates the key points that should be learnt from other details so you are less likely to be overwhelmed with facts.  
  • Can test your knowledge by expanding on the slide information and test if you said everything on the word document. 
  • Can transfer the PDF and document to your other devices and study using split screen (more difficult on a phone).
  • Can easily share your notes with others. 
  • Information is not all in one place which can prove frustrating at times.
  • Cannot study on devices where 'split screen' feature isn't possible so can only read one or the other. 
  • Cannot print notes as a result (NB you obviously can print the notes but it will be a lot more paper than if you followed the first method)

In essence, those are my top three note-takings strategies! I realise that taking notes is not nearly as important as actually learning the material so I want to ensure that I am prioritising my time effectively.  Your notes do not have to be super pretty (as you can see, mine are very plain). If they convey what you need to know, they are doing their job.  Last term I used the third place method and that took quite a lot of time, even though having them in one document was satisfying.  This term, I am deciding to do the first place method and learning the material as I go along so that I do not feel too overwhelmed come exam time.  For lectures where there is more text than pictures on the slides, I will still use the second place method.  

I hope this was of some use and help to anyone struggling to find their ideal style.  These methods can obviously translate into other subjects and degrees. 

Thank you for reading!

Interview | Style by Dillan

When I came across Dillan's blog and social media, I couldn't resist wanting to have him as a feature on this blog.  His style has even inspired me, because I find myself putting pieces together in my wardrobe that I never paired together before.  Dillan had a passion and thrived towards it with a determination we should all follow.  His posts not only discuss garments but the importance of health, wellness, motivation, and self-development to name a few.  

After just a few of his posts, you will be hooked!  There is a plethora of information that is perfect for any audience available alongside his gorgeous instagram which couldn't scream goals given how aesthetically pleasing each picture is.  Keep reading to learn more about this up and coming stylist!

Follow Dillan!

Youtube: StylebyDillan
Instagram: @StylebyDillan
Twitter: @StylebyDillan

What motivated you to go start a mens fashion blog and platform? 

I have always been interested in Fashion and growing up I would get a lot of people complimenting my style and asking me for style advice. I had an Instagram page before my current page which I used to post outfit flat-lays on.

Long story short, I wasn’t enjoying my job and after a nudge from a friend I decided to start my own page which initially was just on Instagram. After about 6 months on Instagram I decided to start my blog so that I could give more depth on specific topics.

How would you describe your style?

I don’t know if I really have a specific style, some people dress really smart and others like to dress in more of a street style. I personally love to dress all different ways. If you look at my Instagram where most of my outfits are posted, you can see that sometimes I like to dress super smart and other days I like to wear more oversized clothing in a street style.

I guess you could call my style random depending on how I am feeling on the day. I have noticed that as I get older I am favouring the smart tailored looks more but that doesn’t stop me from dressing super street at times.

Who/what inspires your outfits and style? 

My inspiration comes from all types of things and people. Instagram is full of incredibly stylish people and it seems everyday I find someone new who’s style is incredible. My street style inspiration comes a lot from hip hop culture and also Kanye West. I know a lot of people aren’t huge fans of Kanye but he is incredibly creative and I think his style is so DOPE!

When it comes to smarter and classier looks Mariano Di Vaio is someone who usually inspires me. He is an incredibly stylish guy and is definitely someone that inspires some of my outfit choices.

What is your proudest moment?

Hmm that is tough I still feel like I am a work in progress and still not anywhere close to where I would like to be. I feel proud every time I receive a message/email/DM from someone saying that I have helped them with something. Whether that be their style or something else that they have been dealing with in life.

What are you looking forward to in the future? 

I am looking forward to creating bigger and better content and working with large brands on campaigns. I really enjoy the process of creating dope stuff, I am going to be exploring this more as I create more travel and lifestyle content as well as fashion and fitness. I would also like to continue to bring value to people and to help more and more people going forward, the reason I started my personal brand was to bring value to people and this is something I will continue to try to do!

What is something you wish more people knew about you?

This is a tough one, I am not really sure to be honest. I guess I would say that I was not always the confident and outgoing person that I seem to be now. Back at school and during University I was outgoing but mainly to people I knew. You would have never seen me standing in the middle of a road packed with people having someone take my photos. I think what I am trying to say is that whenever you do something it helps you to grow. Stylebydillan has helped me to grow and helped me to become a better version of myself.

When I first started YouTube my videos were terrible I felt really shy and awkward talking to the camera. Over time you overcome this and slowly become more confident until you don’t even think about it. I think too many people worry about these small things, the best way to overcome them is by doing and learning as you go!

What advice would you give youngsters for achieving their dreams? 

The world is changing, find your passion early and follow it. Do whatever makes you happy it doesn’t matter what this is because in this day any passion can be turned into a career. Who would have thought 10 years ago that people would earn millions of dollars a year playing video games?

Learn to be humble, grateful and kind. Society draws us into thinking we need things which we really don’t need. You don’t need a Mercedes, or 20 pairs of Yeezy’s and they will most definitely not bring you happiness. When you decide that you don’t need these things then you will make better money decisions which will in turn help you to pursue your dreams. I find that a lot of people use the excuse of not having enough money to start a business. However, you will see them driving a brand new Mercedes and they will have the newest iPhone every 6 months. There is a difference between wanting nice things and needing them, live humbly and build, then buy those things later.

I started Stylebydillan whilst working a 9-5 job. In the evenings and on the weekends when most people watch Netflix or spend money hitting the club I would work and create content. Whatever time you have now make the most of it because trust me, later in life you will wish you started earlier.

What is one lesson you learnt while pursuing your dreams? 

I have learnt a lot of lessons, the main ones I think would be to be consistent, persistent and not to expect things from others. When you start to pursue your dreams it is likely that people that you thought were close to you do not support you. Don’t let this get you down, your true friends and family will always be there for you. Just keep working and never give up.

Consistency and persistence are super key too, sometimes you can feel like you are doing great things but nothing great has happened. Just keep working because great things will come, you never know how close you are to that big break and you don’t want to quit when you are literally a day away from it!

Patience is also SUPER important, nothing happens overnight, anything great and long lasting will take time and effort to build. I know you only asked for one lesson but I want to try and pick out some main ones so that anyone that reads this has as much help as possible haha.

Another big lesson is to stop caring about the opinion of others. People will tell you that you can’t do something because they can’t do it themselves. It is also common to have people close to you such as your parents not agree with what you are doing. In Asian culture is less common for people to follow their dreams, most people follow a similar path in life of GCSE’s, A-levels, University and then a Job as a Banker, Accountant, Dentist or Doctor. So when somebody decides to do something different it is usually frowned upon because people don’t understand it. Follow your heart and do what makes you happy!

Fun fact about you?

After University I spent 3 years working and studying simultaneously to become a Chartered Accountant. During this time, I was also in the process of building ‘Stylebydillan’. I recently stepped away from working as a Chartered Accountant to follow my passion.

Number one fashion tip?

My number one tip would be to follow your own style and dress however makes you feel confident and happy. My motto is ‘look good, feel good’ because I think the way we dress plays a big part in how we feel. Also, I would say don’t worry about expensive clothes and brands if you can’t afford them. It is more about how you wear the clothes, fit is so so crucial so whatever you are buying and wearing make sure it fits you properly. You can have a $3,000 suit that doesn’t fit well or a $100 suit that fits perfectly and the $100 suit will look better every time!

Follow Dillan!

Youtube: StylebyDillan
Instagram: @StylebyDillan
Twitter: @StylebyDillan

What is biotin?

Biotin, also known as Vitamin H or Vitamin B7, has made steep headway in the beauty industry.  It's been advertised as a magic pill to give individuals long and healthy hair, shiny nails, and beautiful skin.  There are clear grey areas regarding biotin: some professionals claim it is redundant as the body naturally produces biotin by some bacteria present in the body.  On the whole, most biotin is attained through diet.  Any excess biotin introduced into the body is immediately excreted as it is water-soluble, thus, it is not stored.  On the other hand, those that have adhered to biotin supplements claim their beauty has enhanced by ten fold.  As a result, I couldn't help but nose-dive into publications to figure out the science which underpins biotin.

DISCLAIMER: Take my review and research with a pinch of salt.   Talk to a GP or dermatologist for further information about any skin care products or supplements you want to introduce into your regime or concerned about.  I am not a doctor or cosmetic chemist. This post is not meant to substitute a healthcare professional or professional healthcare advice.  

Biotin is also known as Vitamin B7, and previously was referred to as Vitamin H and coenzyme R. Biotin is produced by bacterium in the intestines and is therefore, naturally occurring in the body. Alongside this, it can obtained through diet or supplements.  Biotin is one of the water-soluble vitamins.  (1) A deficiency in biotin can potentially lead to alopecia, scaly skin, and defects of the central nervous system. It is a coenzyme or cofactor that aids in catalysis of metabolic reactions such as gluconeogenesis (generating glucose from non-carbohydrate products such as lactate, pyruvate, and amino acids), fatty acid synthesis, and amino acid catabolism (break down of amino acids).  A cofactor or coenzyme is a molecule that interacts with an enzyme to active it.  Biotin works to bring carbon dioxide to macromolecules.  It is associated with four main enzymes in humans (3): 

Thus, biotin is vital in the metabolism of fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids.  However, alongside this, it is involved in regulating gene expression, histone modifications, and cell signalling. (4)  Biotin was first discovered in 1939 as a protective and curative factor against alopecia (hair loss) and dermatitis which suggests why we associate biotin with hair, nails, and skin. (2) Surprisingly enough, I was struggling to find enough studies that discussed the more aesthetic and cosmetology benefits of biotin.  Many actually look at biotin in the context of multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, and embryological development. Some studies illustrate very compelling results so I recommend researching the clinical benefits of biotin if you're curious. 

Biotin is usually found bound to proteins and our body breaks this down during digestion so we end up with biocytin and biotin-oligopeptides.  Finally, biotinidase (anything ending with '-ase' is an enzyme) will further catalyse the reaction to form biotin in the intestinal lumen.  Biotin is predominantly stored in the liver of animals and humans.  Thus, biotin rich foods include animal liver, egg yolk, dairy products, salmon, avacados, nuts and seeds, and sweet potatoes for example. (5) (6) It is vital that I stress that our body naturally synthesises biotin in the gut by our microbiota (naturally occurring bacteria flora in our body).  (8)

The Studies

Biotin has been given at pharmacological doses of around 20mg/day in order to reduce skin rashes, brittle nails, and various forms of hair loss. (6)  This study conducted by Floersheim in 1989 demonstrated that oral biotin has shown significant improvement in improving defects in the hooves of horses.  Therefore, they conducted a study in human participants to see if we can mirror the same benefit in nails. Although there were only 71 participants, which is a small sample size, an oral dose of 2.5 mg/day was given over 5.5 months (+/- 2.3 months).  At the end of the study, it was found that 91% of cases showed a definite improvement with harder and firmer nails.  (7)  Therefore, despite the small sample size, there appears to be a significant difference before and after taking biotin.  Nonetheless, it is important to consider that this study was only conducted in woman, and we do not know if there were any significant diet or lifestyle changes that could also contribute to improved nail strength.

A more recent study conducted in 2012 by Glynis et al was a double-blinded study to evaluate the effectiveness of biotin in women with 'perceived' hair thinning. This was an incredibly small trial of 15 individuals, where 5 were given a placebo (control group) and 10 were given biotin to take twice a day for 180 days.  The ages of the participants also ranged from 21-75 years old which could be an effect modifier.  The control group actually believed they had thicker hair at the end of the study compared to those who took the medicine! Nonetheless, over the course of 180 days it was found there were significant improvements (p value below 0.001) in the women's hair and skin.  (9)  On top of this, it appears this study was looking to just measure the affect of a specific medicine which included other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, niacin, horse tail, and fruit powder for example.  Therefore, it is hard to pin point if pure biotin, which is the common supplement many individuals take, is the reason why women have thicker hair growth and smoother skin.

Most studies, such as the one conducted by Mock et al used high-dose biotin (100 micrograms) which is not available or recommended as a supplement. (10) Individuals taking such high dosages when it is unnecessary can increase their risk of disorders of the thyroid such as hyperthyroidism. (11) In addition, many participants in the Mock study had a severe condition or metabolic disorder. (10) Nonetheless, this emphasises the need to either follow instructions and labels on supplement tins and consult a doctor before introducing anything new into your regimes. 

Fujimoto et al found promising results in a baby who had a biotin deficiency which became evident when weening off of breast feeding.  There was significant improvement after being given 1 mg/day of biotin.  However, results are going to be greatly significant if the individual does indeed have a deficiency in the vitamin.  As it is water soluble, excess is, more often than not, excreted into the urine so taking the supplement can prove extremely beneficial or show no difference in those who do not suffer a deficiency.  (12) 

A retrospective study of the effects of biotin on nail brittleness in Switzerland by Hochman et al found that there was a 25% increase in nail thickness in those that took biotin.  However, of the 35 participants, 64% of them had a difference.  Nevertheless, despite it being a very small sample size this is a positive result in terms of biotin.  (13)

All in all, those were the main studies that I can find that looked at the aesthetic benefits of using biotin (hair, skin, and nails)! The rest were very interesting as I aforementioned; analysing various clinical conditions that could have manifested due to a biotin deficiency or are currently being treated with biotin.  I do not think biotin will have no affect in anyone, rather, I believe that it could show small positive changes to an individual's appearance.  On top of that, I cannot reinforce the importance of ensuring you follow the label, report any differences to a healthcare provider, and even visit a doctor before including supplements into your everyday diet.  

Thank you for reading!



2.Gyorgy, Paul (December 1939). "The Curative Factor (vitamin H) for Egg White Injury, with Particular Reference to Its Presence in Different Foodstuffs and in Yeast". Journal of Biological Chemistry131: 733–744.
4.Zempleni J, Wijeratne SSK, Kuroishi T. Biotin. In: Erdman JW, Macdonald IA, Zeisel SH, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 10th ed. Washington, DC: Wiley-Blackwell; 2012:359-74.
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