The Student Room Group

What are effective note-taking methods for lectures?

What are effective note-taking methods for lectures?
Original post by Freelancewriter
What are effective note-taking methods for lectures?

Hi @Freelancewriter,

There are many different methods of making notes for lectures and every person's preferred method is different. It's all about finding what works for you to help you retain and understand the material presented.

Some people like to make notes on the topic before the lecture and add to these notes with extra information throughout the lecture. This can be good because you already go into the session with some background knowledge.

Others type/ write as the lecture speaks and draw their own pictures. It requires a lot of multi-tasking because you have to be listening and writing at the same time. I personally have the powerpoint slides up in front of me and write information around the slides and highlight key points. This allows me more time to listen but I still get the benefit of writing down notes.

Some people only listen in lectures and like to write notes or refer back to the powerpoint later, ensuring that they hear everything that is said throughout the lecture.

Another effective method is the Cornell method. You divide your paper into three sections: a narrow left column , a wider right column, and a summary section at the bottom. During the lecture take notes in the right column, put key words and ideas in the left column and after the lecture summarise in the box at the bottom. This method is useful to ensure you have written the key points down and have a chance to reflect on the content.

Digital note-taking can make it easier to organise, search and annotate your notes. You can also highlight, colour code and link to external resources. However, buying devices can be expensive and it relies on you remembering to charge your tablet/ laptop before a lecture.

They key to effective note-taking is engaging with the material rather than just copying down everything is said without listening. You may have to adapt your method based on the lecturer's pace and content.

It can be useful to spend the first week of lectures trying out different methods and choose the one you like and works the best.

-Beth (Lancaster Student Ambassador)
Original post by Freelancewriter
What are effective note-taking methods for lectures?


Hi,
The most effective note-taking method for lectures definitely depends on what works best for you!
For me personally, I use pen and paper and focus on writing down the key points and equations/derivations, as well as the additional information mentioned by the lecturer that can't be found in the slides. After the lectures, I use additional materials such as textbooks to add further detail, especially if there's a topic I'm less sure on. A lot of other students like to use iPads as you can annotate the lecture notes (which are often released beforehand.) One of my friends actually prints off the lecture notes beforehand and then adds additional detail during the lectures.
The most important thing is not to stress about writing every little thing down, it's better if you try to actively listen and understand. Most universities record lectures so you can always go back and revisit them.
Hope this helps,
Becky (Lancaster university student ambassador)
Original post by Freelancewriter
What are effective note-taking methods for lectures?

Hi there @Freelancewriter, :smile:

Each student will have their own preferred method for taking notes so you will need to find the best one for you. Notes can either be handwritten or typed and give you a permanent record of your content and understanding that can be reviewed at a later date before exams or tackling assignments. I typed up my notes during lectures and I would have the lecture slides up on my screen to refer to. It's important during lectures to engage and make sense of the information before writing it down in your own words. Try to focus on the key points and don’t try to write down every word.

All the best, :smile:
Sarah
Original post by Lancaster Student Ambassador
Hi @Freelancewriter,

There are many different methods of making notes for lectures and every person's preferred method is different. It's all about finding what works for you to help you retain and understand the material presented.

Some people like to make notes on the topic before the lecture and add to these notes with extra information throughout the lecture. This can be good because you already go into the session with some background knowledge.

Others type/ write as the lecture speaks and draw their own pictures. It requires a lot of multi-tasking because you have to be listening and writing at the same time. I personally have the powerpoint slides up in front of me and write information around the slides and highlight key points. This allows me more time to listen but I still get the benefit of writing down notes.

Some people only listen in lectures and like to write notes or refer back to the powerpoint later, ensuring that they hear everything that is said throughout the lecture.

Another effective method is the Cornell method. You divide your paper into three sections: a narrow left column , a wider right column, and a summary section at the bottom. During the lecture take notes in the right column, put key words and ideas in the left column and after the lecture summarise in the box at the bottom. This method is useful to ensure you have written the key points down and have a chance to reflect on the content.

Digital note-taking can make it easier to organise, search and annotate your notes. You can also highlight, colour code and link to external resources. However, buying devices can be expensive and it relies on you remembering to charge your tablet/ laptop before a lecture.

They key to effective note-taking is engaging with the material rather than just copying down everything is said without listening. You may have to adapt your method based on the lecturer's pace and content.

It can be useful to spend the first week of lectures trying out different methods and choose the one you like and works the best.

-Beth (Lancaster Student Ambassador)


PRSOM

Oluwatosin 2nd year student University of Huddersfield
Original post by Freelancewriter
What are effective note-taking methods for lectures?

Hi @Feelancewriter,

First year is a great time to figure out which method works best for you but there is also no pressure to figure it all out by the end of first year.

Lectures are usually recorded so if you miss something you can always make a note of it and come back to it later. The most important thing is that you engage with he content and understand it. It might be helpful to think about facts you remember and why you remember them/how did you learn about them. For example, did you think about the fact in reference to yourself? This is called self referencing. I learned about it in one of my lectures and it has actually helped me to remember more! By applying the concepts/theories to myself, I understand and remember them better. This is easier to do in a subject like Psychology but might be a lot harder with subjects like Chemistry. The way you take notes might depend on your lecturer (they may do a lot more talking than what is on the slides), subject you study e.g. are diagrams featured frequently (which can be harder to draw on paper)? and what you actually prefer.

Which course will you be taking?

I study Psychology and the most effective method of nite taking for me is to not actually take proper notes during lectures. So, before a lecture I would download the slides (usually they get uploaded before a lecture), then I would listen to the lecturer and anything extra they said that wasn't on the slides, I would write down in the 'notes' section of the powerpoint. You can always change the design of the slides to make them more aesthetic and fun to revise from. On the slides I would also write down questions I might want to ask the lecturer. By using their slides I felt no pressure to note down things quickly and I could focus on engaging with the content. You also get to see how many more slides you have left which can be a bonus sometimes when you are getting a bit tired! :biggrin:

Finally, I would recommend talking to peers and see which methods they have tried. I learned my method from someone in the year above me. Youtube videos might also help inspire you! :smile:

Alia
University of Kent Student Rep

Quick Reply

Latest