The little things you might not always think about for lectures

If turning up for a lecture wasn’t difficult enough, you have to learn stuff from it too. Unbelievable!

Even then it’s not as simple as sitting down with a pen and paper (or laptop) and letting the magic commence.

Not to worry. Here are 11 small tips to get the most out of the lecture process:

photo by kitsu

  1. Prepare for the lecture by reading up on the subject. Approaching the lecture with a basic overview can improve your comprehension and boost the clarity greatly (even if you’ve simply checked a Wikipedia article and done a quick Google search).
  2. Take a bottle of water with you. Your mind will wander if you get thirsty half way through the lecture.
  3. For each set of notes, write down the module title, the date, and that lecture’s topic.
  4. Number your pages of notes if you write a lot.
  5. Leave plenty of white space in the margins, so you can make further annotations, if necessary.
  6. If you have further questions that haven’t been answered, NOTE THESE DOWN for asking/researching later.
  7. Mark/Highlight any sections, ideas, or concepts that the lecturer says is important and likely to form part of an essay or exam.
  8. Listen. Yes, I know you’re supposed to listen, but engage with your own mind as the lecture moves along. Ask yourself questions, try and evaluate points through what you already know, get involved in the meat of the topic even though you’re just listening to another person speak.
  9. Even if you’re told a printout will be given of presentation slides from the lecture, still make notes. It’s not an excuse to stop writing.
  10. If the lecturer does present on Powerpoint and (for some strange reason) doesn’t distribute the slides, ask them for a copy. No harm in asking…the worst they can say is ‘No’.
  11. Organise your notes as soon as you can after the lecture. The longer you leave them alone, the less they’ll end up making sense and helping you when you revise from them.

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