One of the key parts of university is going to lectures and learning about your subject from an expert member of staff. There is often little room for discussion in lectures, as this is saved for seminars where you’ll generally be in a smaller group. But you can get so much out of your lectures if you do it properly – and we’re sharing some tips on this very topic today!
And when we say take notes, take good notes! Choose your method – you can hand write them, use a digital recorder or even a digital pen which records what is being said. Be consistent with this method and your note-taking style; bullet points, shorthand, full sentences… however you do it, do it the same for each lecture to create a standard set of notes ready for you to look back on whenever you need to. If you have any questions or there is something you don’t understand, write it in another colour or on a different page – that way you can see it easily when you come to your seminar ready to discuss!
Make sure you jot down any important dates: exams, guest lectures, when assignments are due and so on.
And on the topic of questions, don’t be afraid to ask them. There might be an opportunity in the lecture itself to do so, or you can wait until your follow-up seminar. Your lecturers and tutors are experts in their field, and asking questions will help you get the most out of your learning experience with them.
Lectures can sometimes be long, and can occasionally be related to something you’re not all that interested in. But it’s important to stay focused if you want to make the most of it. Eat and use the toilet before you go in, take a drink with you to stay hydrated, turn your phone on silent and listen. If you’re easily distracted, don’t sit with your friends – you can catch up with them afterwards! If you do find yourself losing focus, make a note of what the lecturer is talking about at this point so you can come back to it in your own time.
Revisit the topic ASAP
After the lecture, go through what you’ve learned sooner rather than later – this will help it stick in your brain much more easily so that when you come back to it during revision you’ll be on top of what you need to know. Order your notes, read through them, make flash cards, test your knowledge on your course mates… whatever you do, don’t just ignore the notes you’ve made and the things you’ve learned.
These are all ways in which you can make the most of your university lectures – and whether you revise in the library or in the shared common space at your accommodation, you can use your focus and notes to ace your exams when the time comes!