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Undergraduate Advice: 7 Tips For Taking Accurate Lecture Notes
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Undergraduate Advice: 7 Tips for Taking Accurate Lecture Notes

If you’re studying for a degree one of the most useful skills you can have is being able to take accurate lecture notes. Too often students waste time or struggle with their work because they don’t know how to take notes and organise their thoughts. Adopting a range of strategies to ensure that you have lecture notes that can support you in completion of your assignments or studying for your exams is an essential part of your study skill techniques.

Listed below are 7 top tips for taking accurate lecture notes.

Tip 1. Have the right materials: When I was an undergraduate, I was always surprised by the number of people who turned up to lectures without having a couple of pens or paper. Don’t rely on someone providing you with things if you run out. Turn up with adequate supplies.

Tip 2. Review previous notes: If you’re attending a series of lectures you will find it a lot easier to take effective notes if you have reviewed your previous notes each time. It will remind you of key words and any jargon you should be aware of.

Tip 3. Choose the right location: Make sure that you’re in a position to see any presentation or hear what the lecturer is saying. If you find you’re not in the right position - then move.

Tip 4. Avoid distractions: If there’s external noise that’s like to distract you like air-conditioning or heating, try and move away from the source. Equally if you have a friend who likes to comment or chat – don’t sit next to them. Taking accurate lecture notes takes concentration.

Tip 5: Listen: Obviously listening to what is being said is one of the key components of taking accurate lecture notes. Try not to let your mind wander even if you have difficulty in tuning into your lecturer or you will miss vital information. You know that you won’t be able to write everything down and so you will have to listen our for specific cues that are given, like a review of previous information, a summary, repetition of an important point ...

Tip 6: Use a note-taking system: Learning how to use a note-taking system can really teach you how to take accurate notes that will ultimately help you with your assignments. If you’re not naturally organised when taking notes or just not used to doing it, then having a framework to follow will give structure to your notes. One of the most popular note-taking systems for lectures is the Cornell note-taking system but there are others such as Mapping Method or Outline Method.

Tip 7. Review notes: Once a lecture is over take the time to review your notes, make sure that you understand them and fill in any information that you missed out. Reviewing them as quickly as possible will help you to remember the most important points.

Summary Start out as you mean to go on. Getting into the habit of taking accurate notes will make your studies a great deal easier. Note-taking is a skill and one that gets better with practice, so don’t be deterred if you don’t get it right straight away. Always make sure that you review your notes so if you have left information out you can fill it in and ensure that you have notes that will support you in your studies.


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