Take better lecture notes – 8 Easy Steps
At University, you want to achieve the best degree result you can. In lectures, you want to write the information that’ll be useful to you in the future.
When some students start University they find it hard at first to write down the information they needed when taking lecture notes. It’s a bit different to school and the lecturer won’t wait for you to catch up.
There are certain things that you can do in lectures when taking your lecture notes to save yourself loads of time and effort in the future.
Here are the top 8 tips
Print lecture notes before the lecture
Lecturers usually upload the notes onto your University system to help you revise in the future. Check before you arrive to see if they are, it’ll help keep your notes organised, knowing which notes goes with what slide.
If you are super keen you could read up on the lecture beforehand on your way to university.
Don’t write down every single word
This is a mistake that most of us have made at one point when taking lecture notes. If you try and write down every word that’s said, you’ll miss the important information. Only write down what’s relevant with what’s on the screen.
That being said, don’t write down what’s on the screen. You can ask you lecturer for a copy of the notes or download them from your University system. It’s easy to get a copy of them.
Use a Dictaphone
If you’re a slow writer or aren’t good at making notes, using a dictaphone will record everything you’ve missed. You can re-live the fun and listen to your lecturers dulcet tones later on and make more notes instead of trying to fit everything in an hour.
Find a good one on Amazon here.
Don’t lose concentration
Even if you’ve got the “magic 8 hours sleep”, it’s easy to lose concentration in a boring lecture taking notes. If you do, it’ll mean more time catching up later on or being frustrated because you don’t understand it. By keeping yourself focused in lectures, you’ll feel better knowing you don’t have to catch up later on.
A strong coffee might work for some where as a simple apple or bottle of fruit juice work better for others. Get to know your concentration techniques like a deadly lecture note taking ninja!
Underline and Capitalise
By underlining and using CAPITALS, it’s easier to make key points in your lecture notes. If your lecturer is stressing something important, underlining will help you remember how important it is. Even if that means underlining the word 50 times in a doodle fashion (but don’t get too distracted).
These are your notes, they aren’t going to be marked. You can shorten words if you want to, use 2 instead of to, too, two, da for The, w/ for with etc. It doesn’t have to be written correctly or spelt correctly. As long as you can understand your notes, it doesn’t matter if they’re spelt incorrectly or shortened down.
Make sure that you can understand them though. During a lecture may not be a great time to add a new abbreviation to your writing repertoire. After all, you might not see these notes until the end of the year!
If you miss something out then leave a gap
If you miss something out in the lecture then make sure that you leave a gap to add the information later.
Not only will this keep your notes nice and neat but it will also ensure that you don’t miss anything out when you come back to them at the end of the year.
Make yourself comfortable
Don’t forget that everyone’s style of working is different. You may have a friend at university who actually likes to write every single word but then there are some who map out the lecture in a massive spider diagram with coloured pencils. It can depend a lot on your way of thinking but if you follow all of these tips then you can’t fail in taking good lecture notes.
We hope these tips are useful to you in getting the best information from your lectures. The main tip we can offer is to find your own style of making notes in lectures. Don’t stress too much or you’ll lose focus. You can always ask your friend to borrow their notes if you feel you’ve missed something. You’ll be fine!Last updated 2nd October, 2012