Ahead of a session coming up on how to make the most of lectures, an intriguingly new session topic for me, I did some research online and found the following info which might be useful for everyone, Mentor and Student alike.
The most helpful source is:
This website, and pdf version, covers everything from preparatory reading in advance of the lecture, to listening for structure in what is said, to the use of colour and abbreviations in note-taking, as well as the importance of following up on any questions or gaps you might have once the lecture has finished.
In addition, I found some useful practical advice elsewhere; websites are listed at the end.
- Check you’ve got everything you need: pens, paper, books, laptops and chargers etc for ALL of the lectures and seminars you have that day.
- It is useful to have a bottle of water and a snack, as well as tissues.
- Beware: excessive drinking of caffeine or energy drinks usually end in a sugar crash and overwhelming feeling of tiredness.
- Choose seats nearer to the front of the lecture theatre so that you can hear and see better, and are more likely to stay awake. Studies also show that those who sit in the front and middle during lectures achieve higher grades.
- Turn off mobiles: it’s more polite and won’t serve as a distraction.
- Use course handbooks and review the last lecture notes in preparation.
- Download the lecture slides if made available prior to the lecture.
- Ask yourself what you need to get out of the lecture: what information do you know already/need to know?
- Only write down what’s relevant and useful, rather than every word, so you don’t miss anything else important. But don’t write down what’s on screen, as you get a copy later.
- Underlining helps jog your memory later of something your Lecturer stressed as important.
- Ask the Lecturer questions where appropriate (even by email or in their office hours), and chat to other students afterwards to enjoy the buzz of learning and help consolidate tricky information.
- Try to stay engaged, so you don’t have to catch up on missed information later. Find your own way to do this: e.g. water, using colour in your notes, writing down questions you have, taking a walk during the break, drawing spider diagrams of the information, making sure you’re not too hot or cold, avoid distractions, have a copy of your upcoming assignment burning a hole in your desk.
- Try tape recording lectures: this suits some people’s learning style better, helps prevent the panic in the lecture of keeping up with the pace of information, and you can use it for revision. B. still take notes as a back-up, to aid with the lengthy transcription afterwards, and be sure to get Lecturer approval before recording.
I will also hope to focus on how to turn those lecture notes into useful fuel for essays in the session!