How to Take More from Lectures

Most lectures are made to teach and tell you about new techniques, ideas and skills. Skilled and learned lecturers share their knowledge and experience; however, but how do you take the most from this huge amount of new information?

Prepare for the Lecture

  • Find out if the lectures are linked with the content of future seminars and if it is a common practice to follow up the lectures during seminars.
  • Read the literature from the recommendation list before the lecture starts. Preparing for a lecture will help you understand new information much easier and provide a basis for making your own point of view and comparisons. If the lectures are organized in series, your previous lecture notes will be very helpful.

Listen the Lecture

  • Focus on the lecture content structure usually shown at the beginning of the lecture.
  • Be attentive with the verbal signposts. The lecturer makes accents with signposts for new paragraphs in the speech. Pausing and summarizing is a signal for more attention to the lecture content.

Take Notes

  • Make a structure of notes during writing. Mark the headings of new topics, use points or numbers for lists of information, make illustrations and make separations between points.
  • Do not always try citing a lecture; write phrases in your own words. This will help you better understand the material. However, you should accurately cite the main examples and quotations.
  • Mark the words and phrases you have not understood. At the end of lecture or in pauses between the paragraphs, you will have an opportunity to ask your lector some questions. If there will not be a part for questions, then you always can answer the questions at home with the help of the internet.
  • Brevity is the soul of wit. Write down only facts, keywords and a brief description of ideas. However, do not overdo it; fewer notes and too many abbreviations may present an incomplete part of the lecture.
  • Use spacing and different colors to make your notes more readable. Make more space between points that allow you to make additional notes and explanations. Colored points will quickly help you to find definitions and headlines in text when needed.
  • If you missed some information due to certain reasons or just got lost, leave the gap and continue writing. As the lecture ends, you may ask any student to compare the notes and find the missing information.

Tips for Successful Listening

  1. Sit in the first rows. There, you can clearly hear the lecturer and have eye contact that help you understand the information much easier. Moreover, the lecturer and have a chance to build a positive relationship may mention you.
  2. Use nothing but pen and notebook for writing the lecture. Laptops and tablets are usually distracting to the writing process, as they always attract game playing instead of listening the lecture.
  3. Choose a seat far away from your friends. Your friends may distract your attention with jokes and conversation.
  4. Discuss questions that have appeared during the lecture with your tutor at seminars.