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During the lecture

Think more, write less

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You will almost always need to take notes; don't rely on the lecture handouts alone. When you are listening to a lecture, it is impossible to get down all the information presented. You therefore have to make judgments about what information is important and whether to note it down. Remember that lecture handouts may not cover everything that is said during the lecture, so don't rely on them.

Think about the following points during the lecture:

  1. Making an entrance


  2. Be there on time. Vital information is usually given at the beginning of the lecture.

  3. Your position in the lecture theatre


  4. Don't be frightened of the lecturer. Sit close to the front. You will hear and see better, and are more likely to find yourself in the company of committed students. Chatting, texting, or sleeping at the back may bring short-term pleasure but guarantees long-term pain.

  5. The lecturer's use of voice and body language


  6. The lecturer's use of repetition, a change of voice, meaningful pausing, or an upraised finger may indicate important content. Listen and watch for these signals.

  7. Understanding the lecturer


  8. Lectures can be hard to follow, especially in the first few weeks when the content is unfamiliar. A lecturer's accent may seem impossible at first but remember that it will all get easier! It is OK to raise your hand and ask the lecturer to go a little more slowly or to talk louder.

  9. Lecture language


  10. A lecture is not a dictation exercise. Don't try to write everything that the lecturer says. You need to listen and make your own judgements about what you should write down.

    • Work at identifying what are main points and what is supporting information.
    • Concentrate on principles and arguments.

Should I try to record my lectures?

Should I try to record lectures?

If you feel you are missing a large proportion of the lecture, you can ask the lecturer if you can bring in a tape recorder. You will then need to be careful you do not spend too much time listening to tapes. In any case, this may only be helpful for the first few weeks while you adjust to the new demands on your listening skills. It may be helpful to have a friend with whom you can compare your notes after the lecture.

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