14 Apr 2015

how I take notes in lectures

My attention span is short - I'll be the first to admit that - so hour-long lectures are something that I sometimes struggle with. The only way I try and get round this is by ensuring that I take notes. In one lecture, I might scrawl almost everything down (even the things I already knew beforehand) in an effort to stay awake and in other lectures, I may just listen and take the odd note because the lecturer is super engaging.

Other things I do are take sips of water from time to time - this, to me, is a sort of mini-break where my concentration is reset and means I am focussed on the topic at hand.

Lectures

In lectures, I tend to write in cursive with as many gaps in between new topics as possible but this does fail (as you can probably see below). Bullet points are a feature and I never write in full sentences. The odd diagram makes an appearance, as does the odd doodle (squared paper is perfect for drawing patterns on which can be a distraction in itself!).


Tutorials

In tutorials, I have a bit more time to take notes as they are mainly for consolidating knowledge we already have at a basic level.


The main things I do are:

- use bullet points: these enable me to take notes within overwhelming the paper I'm using. A whole page full of prose can be daunting!

- never write in full sentences (for the same reason as the previous point).

- add in diagrams when appropriate: a picture paints a thousand words and are easier for exam recall.

- underline, draw boxes, highlight things! Draw arrows if necessary too.

- try and have as much white (or blank, if you're a Taylor Swift fan) space as possible.

- write as quickly and as neatly as possible.

In the past, I have tried out the Cornell note taking method but it just didn't work for me, but because I write out my notes in full after the lecture, it doesn't matter too much. I think what I'm trying to say here is that find out what works for you and stick with it

Sorry this isn't the most informative post but I have exams coming up so it's all about keeping things short and sweet!

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