30 Tips to Survive Lectures

If you’ve started uni this year, lectures might seem like a confusing way to learn. How do I know what to write down? Should I print out the slides? How exactly am I supposed to stay awake? Not to worry – we’ve got you covered.

  1. Decide early on if you’re going to handwrite or type your notes. You can’t effectively revise using notes that are half hand-written and half typed in random word documents you’ve saved as “ghreuiafbdfja.doc”. Have a system and stick to it!
  2. Make sure your notes are organised! If you handwrite your notes, it’s a good idea to have a notebook for each subject, or a bigger notebook for everything that’s divided into sections. If you type up your notes, either save your word documents into folders, choose the notebook layout for your documents, or download an app like Evernote or Microsoft OneNote that will do all the organising for you! Don’t forget to back up your notes!Source: giphy.com
  3. Don’t focus too heavily on colour coding your notes when you’re in the lecture. This requires way too much time and concentration, so it’s much better to do all your highlighting and underlining when you’re revising your notes later on.
  4. For those of you who like everything to be organised (tidy room, tidy mind), rewriting notes after a lecture has been scientifically proven to be useless! So don’t stress too much about your notes being perfectly spaced, with pretty headings and subheadings. All you need is for them to be legible.
  5. Listen to what the lecturer is presenting. Did you know that we can contain 50% of the information being presented through listening and watching, but only 5% when we’re writing down notes while the lecturer is speaking?
  6. If you can, read through your lecture slides and readings before your lecture. This actually helps in understanding the content presented in your lecture. You can plan ahead by reading the subject guide thoroughly.
  7. Printing out slides is ideal if they have a lot of information on them. This way you can focus on actually listening to the content of the lecture, and every now and then you can add annotations to your printed notes.
  8. If you’re tech savvy, and you seem to be able to focus more with technology in front of you, try uploading and annotating your slides on a tablet!
  9. If you use a laptop or tablet to take notes, consider getting a website blocker such as Self Control that can block distractions such as Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter for a selected time period.
  10. Revise the content after the lecture. Even if you just talk to your friends about what happened in class, you’ll be improving your understanding of the content.
  11. If you’re still not sure about what the lecturer was talking about, try to relate it to the rest of the course. Seeing how everything fits together takes practice, but it is a great way to boost your marks.Source: giphy.com
  12. Lectures start five minutes after the start time listen on your timetable, and end five minutes before the advertised time, so don’t be too stressed if you have back-to-back lectures!
  13. If you find that attending lectures is simply not working for you, try switching to watching the recordings instead. This way you can pause the recording to take down notes, and google definitions and concepts. Furthermore, you can do it anytime and anywhere, which is great if that 9am lecture is killing you!
  14. If you get easily distracted when listening to lecture recordings, it’s a good idea to download the lecture file and listen to it offline.
  15. Where you sit in the lecture theatre is absolutely essential to your level of focus. Make sure you are sitting close enough to make out every word on the screen, and perhaps knowing that you are in clear sight of the lecturer will make you think twice about nodding off!
  16. If you’re easily distracted by the never-ending stream of pop-up notifications on your phone, either turn it off or put it at the bottom of your bag so you can’t reach for it.
  17. Lecturers very rarely revise content they’ve already spoken about. Don’t fall into the trap of waiting for a revision session that’s never going to come!Source: NBC
  18. Don’t bring textbooks to lectures – you won’t need them.
  19. Don’t feel pressured to copy what everyone else around you is doing. Find your own rhythm and let that guide you.
  20. Some lecturers are very forthcoming with what they’d like to see in your assessment. Write that down!
  21. Don’t be afraid of asking questions! Many lecturers are more than happy to answer questions during the lecture, as the information is often helpful to everyone. If your lecture doesn’t want to answer questions during the lecture, you can usually go up to them afterwards.
  22. Print out the lecture slides and highlight concepts you don’t really understand during the lecturer. This means you can go back and quickly figure out which parts of the course you need to go over again when it’s time to revise!
  23. If you have multiple lectures in a row covering similar topics, review your notes from the previous lecture in advance. You don’t want to be totally lost when the lecturer carries on where they left off or assumes you already know things that were covered in previous lectures!
  24. If writing out notes works for you, make sure you write them in your own words and don’t just copy down what’s on the slides. It can be really tempting to memorise everything word for word, but you’ll be able to retrieve information far more efficiently if you’ve devoted that extra time to understanding the content in a way that makes sense to you.
  25. If your lecturer won’t provide recordings and you don’t want to confront them about it, you can contact the Education Academic officers and they’ll give you a hand.
  26. If your lectures aren’t recorded, send your lecturer an email asking if it’s ok for you to record on your phone.
  27. If you have a really long lecture, especially one over lunchtime, bring some snacks with you so you don’t get hungry, distracted, and inevitably leave early. Just make sure they aren’t too noisy so you don’t annoy everyone around you!Source: pinterest
  28. Don’t stress too much if you haven’t been able to easily get seats in any of your lectures at the start of semester. Lecture attendance drops rapidly throughout the semester so you’ll be spoilt for choice as far as seat location goes before you know it!
  29. Lefties rejoice! If you’re in a theatre with attached desks, there are seats for left-handed students on the end of each aisle.
  30. When in doubt, return to the reading guide. Try to structure your notes and headings around the scheduled topics. It will make revision much easier.

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