Handwritten notes slowing me down?

Hi all,
I have been writing down notes for every challenge from the beginning (am learning ‘Object oriented and functional programming’ right now).

The problem is I could have finished the challenges much faster, but making notes is taking too much time.

Any suggestions to solve this problem?

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We all learn different ways. Taking your time is not necessarily a problem.

You could try ditching the notes or taking much sparser notes and see if you feel like you are learning enough when you get to the algorithms, and if you find you rushed go back and make notes again.

There is no rush, and learning is a continual and (hopefully) never ending process.

What short term goal are you hoping to achieve and what do you think is a reasonable time frame to reach it by? Bear in mind that your answer to those questions is entirely self directed! If you ‘miss’ a ‘deadline’ is doesn’t mean you can’t learn or you will be punished, it just means that thing takes you longer to learn than you thought it might.

By all means, if you feel like you’re dragging your heels and you want to speed up, give it a go - but don’t beat yourself up for needing to take some time, either.

FWIW, I hardly ever take notes, but I read widely and watch lots of video tutorials. I also make a point of coding every day and hanging out here to help people with their issues. That helps me firm up my understanding. YMMV.


@JacksonBates Thanks! That was very helpful.

Hi, I’m a huge fan of making notes. I can’t remember stuff if I don’t make notes. Yes, it takes longer, but it’s a tortoise and the hare situation; it’s quicker in the long run.

I make notes right in my code examples and challenges in Atom editor. That way I can search for things really easily. I currently have just one Javascript file approaching 4000 lines, but will probably break it into smaller files later as it grows. I go back and review my notes each week.

Paper notes work too, though they’re slow and not searchable. I do make some notes on big post-it notes and stick them on the wall or in a notebook for things I’m really stuck on or keep forgetting. I like post-its as they’re easy to re-order in the notebook (or on the wall).

My secret weapon is the todo-show package in Atom. It’s not designed for study but works REALLY well for it. I can tag sections with keywords such as QUESTION, FIXME, TODO, IDEA, NOTE, REVIEW. todo-show pulls these from all my code files and notes into a single ordered table format so that I can follow up on them later. Sometimes when I come back to a REVIEW tagged section I have learnt enough that I understand it, or a QUESTION tag is no-longer needed as I’ve since learnt the answer. This way all my notes and questions are right there with the code examples and easily ordered/searched, and I know what I need to finish up learning/reviewing/fixing.



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Do you find that taking notes helps your understanding? If so, I think it would be worth it to continue. Where you are in the program, you get a lot thrown at you, so there’s plenty to make note of. If you’re worried about it taking up too much time, try reviewing your notes to see what’s most useful to you, so whenever you take notes again you can be a little quicker and have the best of both worlds.

Another thing to consider is how you use your notes. I handwrite all of my notes because it helps me remember more than if I had just typed them into a text file. Because of this, my notes are not very searchable, but that’s not how I use them. For me, I like being able to flip through my notebook whenever I have some free time, or if I’m working on something. My notes aren’t comprehensive, but they’re a great refresher. If I need something comprehensive, or I need to search for something, I’ll just do it online.

I think the deeper you get into freeCodeCamp, the better idea you’ll have about what kinds of notes to take (or not). I’m almost finished with Basic Algorithm Scripting, and the kinds of notes I’ve been taking are very different from the earlier sections.

Good luck!


I was actually thinking about the same thing earlier.
I have a lot of trouble retaining information. As I move on with the challenges, it gets harder and harder to remember what I’ve learned already.

I keep the “Map” page open in another tab on my browser. Whenever I get stuck, I do a Ctrl+F search and look up the skill that I previously learned. This has helped me a lot and it gives me an instant refresher. If I keep looking up the same thing (or if I use a specific skill frequently), I’ll bookmark the individual page that gives me the answer, sort of like a flashcard.

I wish you all of the luck with your progress!


Thanks @TimHandy ! I think I will give it a try!!

Hmm I agree @BranSeals going through the effort to writing stuff works as a kind of revision of what we’ve learned till now. Thanks for your advice!

That’s a very good idea @LosAngalex! Thanks for your help and good luck to you too!

To you as well!

Here’s another thing I started doing since I answered. I created a coding Pinterest board – whenever I look for help online, I save the page that helps me with the answer on the board. That way I can look back on my research. It has become quite helpful.