You are here: Learnhigher Home » Working with Others » Listening and Interpersonal Skills » Notemaking in lectures

Notemaking in lectures

Author: Unknown Author (Unknown affiliation)
Description: A student helpsheet describing a process for effective strategies for notemaking in lectures. Includes notes on preperation and process.
Estimated activity time: Unknown time
Type of media: Helpsheet
Licence: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0
(This resource can be freely repurposed and reused)
Category: Listening and Interpersonal Skills Note making
Tags:
Date: This information/resource was last updated in .

NOTEMAKING IN LECTURES

This post was originally added to Learnhigher on:


What you need to do before, during and after a lecture to be successful:

Before

Actively prepare for the lecture and set goals:

  • Scan module handbook: remind yourself of the course AIMS, LEARNING OUTCOMES and the assignment question. THINK: which bit of these will this lecture help me with?
  • Brainstorm: what do I already know on this topic? What do I need from this session to help me with the assignment? NB: Whilst this appears very pragmatic and ‘surface’ orientated, Buzan’s work (passim) suggests that a focussed approach allows us to draw more out of a lecture (or text) than an ‘open’ or relatively undifferentiated approach.

During

  • Turn your paper landscape fashion; set yourself the challenge of making key word pattern notes. Remind yourself that whilst change is uncomfortable, this passes – and that this is a proven successful study strategy – now:
  • Actively select KEY words and points: names, dates, ‘facts’, theories, arguments…
  • Roughly connect them together in a rough pattern. See these as a first draft. TIP: see most of what you do as a draft. The rush to perfection is the enemy of active thinking – it closes us off
  • Use coloured pens to keep your brain alert (awake!)
  • Draw pictures, use symbols instead of words – again making the task more difficult keeps you alert – and starts to make the notes more memorable.

After

This is the most important time of all – and the longest. Being a student is NOT about being in lectures, workshops and seminars (that take up about 12 hours a week) but is in the reading, writing, thinking, talking that you do the rest of the time (about 20-25 hours a week).

This is also the most active time of all – and Buzan argues that if we do not DO SOMETHING, if we do not actively revise our notes, then we will forget 98% of the information we have just heard in just three weeks! So:

  • Revise your notes – makes them shorter, more dynamic and more memorable – that is, build in mnemonic illustrations (cartoons) so that each set of notes has something that will trigger your recall
  • Discuss your notes with a study partner
  • Get a study partner!
  • Follow up your notes: read something, write something… TIP: start drafting rough paragraphs for the final assignment from the beginning of the course. Each rough paragraph will tell your brain what you are listening for in a lecture (or looking for in a book)
  • Don’t file your notes away. Filed away stuff feels finished – this tells the brain to forget. Stick the notes on your wall – revise them as you walk past. TIP: Write your assignment on the wall and add notes to the question… Build up notes that help you answer the assignment question…


Related Resources

Get involved

Do you have learning and teaching resources to share? Amplify them using Learnhigher