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Posted Jan. 30, 2013

What to Write Down During Postgraduate Lectures

If you can remember anything from your undergraduate study then you'll know just how much is said by your professor during lectures. You can't possibly right it all down, nor should you for that matter!

It's all about tuning into to your professor's cues - conscious and subconscious.

Not sure what to write down and what not to write down? Check out our guide on successful note taking during postgraduate lectures:

Only Write Down the Main Points - It may sound obvious, but it's surprising just how many students feel the urge to try and get everything that is said down on paper. Your goal isn't to transcribe. Extract the main points and record them as and when necessary. It's all about learning how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Listen and Learn - If you are frantically scribbling away the whole time, you're not going to adsorb much of the information, let alone understand it! Lectures are a time for you to engage with your professor, so make the most of it by listening up. This way you'll have more to contribute come Q&A time.

Pay Attention to These Cues  - Throughout the lecture be aware of these cues from your professor. Whenever you see or hear them, start writing!

  • If your professor says 'you need to know this'. (Kind of a given!)
  • Anytime that he repeats himself.
  • Whenever he writes something down on the board or whips out a PowerPoint. (don't bother if you can get the PowerPoint online)
  • When he starts speaking very slowly as if to drill home a message.
  • If he starts to speak loudly, or with added emphasis.
  • When he gets excited or particularly animated about a subject.

Review and Summary  - When the lecture is coming to a close your professor will most likely sum up the main takeaway points. Write these down. These main points are what you need to learn and research when studying. At the beginning of the next lecture, they may also give a quick review of the previous class and any correlations this might have to today's point of call. Jot these down too.

Hypothesis or Examples - More often than not your professor will use lectures to pose potential hypotheticals and/or examples. These are invaluable and can help you to gain a broader understanding of your subject.

Missed Something?

If you missed something, or didn't quite get what your professor was trying to say, write it down and make a point of asking the professor about it after the lecture is finished. It is nothing to be ashamed off.

Do you have any tips on what's worth writing down during postgraduate lectures?

Let us know in the comments below...



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