6 ways to take better lecture notes

6 ways to take better lecture notes

6 ways to take better lecture notes

We hate to break it to you, but turning up to your lectures is only half the battle. Listening up and really nailing your note-taking skills is key to getting the degree grade you’re aiming for.

You might be tempted to give yourself a big pat on the back for hauling yourself out of bed and making it to class. But if you’re not making the best use of your lecture time, you might as well have just stayed under the covers.

We’ve put together a few tips on how to take lecture notes.

How to take lecture notes

These are the best ways to take notes in university:

1. Write concise notes

This is an easy mistake that most of us make when taking lecture notes.

Not only is attempting to get everything down on paper pretty much impossible, but it also means you won’t really be listening to what’s being said or giving it time to sink in.

The key is striking a balance. It’s better to listen up and write down particular phrases you think are important. You can then back these up with the lecture slides, which should be made available once the class is over.

2. Record lectures on a dictaphone

Wonder what to bring to lectures if you’re a slow writer or struggle a bit with university note-taking? Taking a dictaphone to record lectures is a good backup if you’re worried about missing anything.

You can listen to your lecturer’s dulcet tones, later on, making more notes in your own time instead of trying to multitask during class.

Don’t use a recorder as a replacement for paying attention or taking some notes, though. A bit of note-taking helps you process useful information. Pressing record and settling down to catch up on sleep isn’t how it works.

3. Pay close attention

Hi there! Still with us? Even if you’ve managed the magic eight hours of sleep, it’s easy to lose concentration in a boring lecture.

But zoning out in class means you’ll have to spend more time catching up or becoming frustrated because you don’t understand something. By staying focused in lectures, you’ll feel better knowing that you don’t have so much to catch up on later.

4. Highlight, underline, and capitalize your notes

By underlining and using CAPITALS, it’s easier to identify key points in your lecture notes.

If your lecturer is stressing something important, draw attention to certain words or phrases in whatever way will best help you remember them. But don’t get too distracted with your artistic creations.

Using different colors is also known to do the trick (as well as generally making your pages of notes look more exciting). However, it’s probably best to add these after class when you’re reading over your notes again.

5. Use abbreviations

Remember that these are your notes. They aren’t going to be marked and the only person who needs to be able to read them is you. Take some time to work out whatever shorthand code you’re comfortable with and roll with it.

Shorten words like using ‘2’ instead of ‘to’, ‘too’ and ‘two’, ‘da’ for ‘the’, ‘w/’ for ‘with’, etc. Whatever floats ‘ya’ boat. As long as you can understand your notes, it doesn’t matter if they’re shortened or contain spelling mistakes.

6. Get rid of distractions

If you’re using a laptop or tablet for your note-taking, get rid of any possible distractions before class starts. Generally, we’d recommend taking notes by hand, but some people prefer to type.

Close all other tabs or programs you have running and turn the WiFi off. This way, you’re not tempted to check social media or get distracted by notifications.

You might think it’s useful to have WiFi on in case you have to look something up that you’re not sure about, but believe us – now is not the time.

Instead, take note of what you want to research and save the browsing for after the lecture. Otherwise, you’ll go off on a Wikipedia tangent and have no idea what’s been going on for the last half an hour.

Courtesy / Credit: Save the Student

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *