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How to make effective lecture notes

The jump from school/college to uni is huge. There are so many things that work differently at uni, and this can be pretty overwhelming. One of the starkest differences between the two is how you learn; lessons vs lectures. The most important thing to do in lectures is make effective notes, but how are you supposed to do that? Here are 3 ways to ensure you are making worthwhile lecture notes that will actually help you when it comes to revision.

Effective lecture notes

Read Ahead

If you are able to download the lecture slides before the lecture – do it! Whether you can or not varies between unis, and even the schools within them. But if you can, do. In my final year I decided to make notes from the slides before the lecture. This meant that when I was in the lecture I could add to them based on what was being said. This means that your notes will be pretty hefty, which leads me to my next tip.

Condense as you go

Condensing your notes is vital for revision, but often it can be hard to know where to begin. I would definitely recommend condensing your notes week by week. Once you’ve been to the lecture and done any readings/seminar work, you’ll have complete notes for that week. If you condense them weekly, not only will your notes be way less overwhelming when it comes to revision, you may also remember bits and pieces – bonus!

Effective lecture notes pens

Colour code

One of the most useful things I did when making notes was colour code them. Lecture notes were black, references from the lecture were red, textbook notes blue and notes from academic papers were green, purple, pink and orange (depending on how many there were for that lecture). This was most useful when it came to revision, as I was able to visualise the notes. I knew the information was green I knew it was from a reading, and eventually I’d be able to recall the relevant author(s) for each colour. Colour coding can actually make you a more efficient thinker. You can do it whether you prefer to type or write, and I think this is my absolute top tip when making lecture notes.

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