For many, note taking during a lecture is a given but how do you know what to put in your notes? Some students try to write everything, but that is a really bad strategy – you are so busy writing\typing, you really have no time to listen. So everybody agrees that you should summarize only the important points and not try to transcribe the lecture, but how do you know something is important?
I found a really nice post on a site called “The Art of Manliness” titled Write This Down: Note-Taking Strategies for Academic Success. The article summarizes a number of cues you can use to understand when something important is being said:
- Anytime the professor says, “You need to know this,” or “This will be on the test.” Duh.
- Anytime the professor repeats himself.
- Anything the professor repeats very slowly so that it can be taken down word for word.
- If your professor starts talking more quickly, or loudly, or with more emphasis.
- Watch for language that shows relationships between ideas. These sorts of points are often where professors get their exam questions from:
- first, second, third
- especially, most significant, most important
- however, on the other hand
- because, so, therefore, consequently
At the end of the class, your professor will often summarize the main takeaway points. At the beginning of the next class, your professor may give a quick review of the previous class and then provide a preview of how those points are related to the day’s lecture.
With LectureMonkey – using these cues is simple, just use them to set bookmarks, and maybe add a quick comment (just a tweet). Then when you review the class (especially before a test) – you can skip back to the important sections and skip all the fluff.