You come to university enthralled by your chosen subject, your one passion that you can explore for £9,000 a year…
Now, it seems to be a waste on money and time to not be taking advantage of all the resources you have, even though it may be very tempting (believe me) to stay in bed and miss lectures because you have no one mothering you and making you get up.
All I can say is, even if it is only an hour, missing lectures can be hard to catch up on – unless you have the work notes online that you can get hold of (thank the lord for the website blackboard).
Anyway, making the most of the time you have with lecturers / professors is important so you don’t have to do so much catching up!
Making the most of lectures:
- Prep if you can
This helps you partly absorb the concepts before the workshop/lecture and may make it easier to engage, (believe me it’s the not the greatest idea if you are given notes to read and don’t use them , the discussion stemmed from it will be more difficult to follow … )
2. Note it down
During the lecture make notes to refer back to when revising or completing assignments. Good quality notes will jog your memory when looking back at your work so it’s also good to write down examples/diagrams as well as the key points of the session. Don’t feel as if you have to write down EVERY word though, just the main points.
3. Record and rewind
If taking straight notes isn’t your style, you can always use a dictaphone to pick up the whole lecture and revise back from listening again and typing/taking notes from it again. I know a few people who do this and they say that it can be easier to concentrate in a lecture if you know you will have it all on a backed up.
4. Organising with colour and pictures
Colour-coding can help to make things clearer by visually sectioning the different points/key areas. Illustrating to structure your notes in order to remind you of certain concepts may be an effective alternative to plain notes (and personally I find fun to do). Also, using headlines, capitalizing or highlighting can be a practical method to make things stand out. Having organised and neat notes are much easier to revise or pull information from than a half crumpled piece of paper with notes you can hardly read.
5. Signs and symbols
If there is anyway you can speed up your note taking, try it! – there can be loads to engulf within a small session so abbreviating or using your own symbols can be handy.
6. Safe and sound
Store your notes with care. Keep them in a folder or book in an order that makes sense to you – this may not be by date, it could be by module, session or what you want to revise more/less of.
7. Look back to move forward
There’s no point in taking notes if you don’t look back. Even if this is typing them up again or just going over them. Your brain wont forget the information as quickly if you keep reminding yourself of the content you have learnt.
8. Ask questions
It might seem embarrassing to ask about something you aren’t sure on, especially with a room full of people you don’t know very well at the start of term, but it’s very likely someone else is thinking the same thing. If you ask questions this can make you feel more confident in the subject and start discussion as well as giving you a direct answer for your concerns. Lecturers are there because they are passionate about their subject and will most likely thrive on giving an explanation no matter how small it is.
In short, try to be prepared, organised and well structured – obviously balancing everything can be challenging with all the pressures (and hangovers) you may be experiencing, but making the most of lectures is what you are paying to do. We aren’t all saints and will most likely miss lectures when being at uni – just make sure you catch up before the workload catches you out first. Review your work and make it as simple as possible by using a noting style that is right for you. – and that’s all you can do!
Focus on yourself and what you want to achieve – it’s all for you!
It may be difficult and boring to keep going over things but for the sake of your examinations or portfolios it will pay off – or at least that’s what I’m hoping will happen… but I suppose you just have to do what suits you and helps you achieve your best and that’s just how it is.
Check out my previous blogs on my site, including – “My Top 5 Ways to Battle Writer’s Block”