This post was written by an external contributor. Here are some 🔥🔥🔥 ways to improve your drab and boring lecture notes from Brenda…
As much as we hate to say it, freshers week is o-v-e-r. Like it or not, it’s time to put pen to paper and get stuck in with some serious learning. Lectures and seminars can be a difficult style of teaching to adapt to. Lucky for you, we’ve got some clever hacks that’ll help you upgrade your lecture notes in style.
Use the Cornell Method
You know a note-taking method is good when it’s endorsed by one of the best universities in the world. Created by Cornell University education professor Walter Pauk in the 1950s, the Cornell Method is designed to help you organise your notes more effectively.
You divide your note-taking paper into three sections. A narrow vertical column on the left, a wider vertical column on the right, and a horizontal column on the bottom. The wide column on the right is your note-taking column. The left column is your ‘questions’ or ‘cue’ column. The bottom column is your space to summarise the lecture.
The Cornell Method is definitely one to get used to, but can be extremely helpful. For more information, the WikiHow page on the subject is very thorough.
Colour code your notes
It isn’t enough to cover your notes in pretty highlighter and be done with it. A proper colour code for your notes will help them look more visually interesting. This will help your brain absorb information better, and recall it at important times (like exams).
We’ve got a few colour-coding tips that’ll help prevent your notes looking like a colour explosion. Firstly, use a legend. This is where you assign a label to each colour so you can find all the key points related to the label. Secondly, limit the colours you use. Instead of going the rainbow route, try getting a set of pens in different shades of blue instead. It’ll make it much easier to read. Thirdly, if you’re taking notes on your computer, try different colour schemes for different subjects. We love Coolors for their fantastic colour scheme generator.
Use the three-pronged note-taking approach: before, during and after
The bad news is you can’t expect to rock up to your lectures and have notes magically appear. Uni is seriously hard work, and the more you put into it, the more you get out. The good news is, with a little bit of extra work before and after a lecture, you’ll go a long way.
Before you head to a seminar or lecture, read and highlight the lecture slides. No doubt this will result in a TON of questions that’ll need answering. This will help you focus on filling in those knowledge blanks during the lecture. After the class, take time to construct a summary sheet of the lecture. If you do this every time, you’ll end up with a full year’s worth of notes by the end. This means you’ll be doing a lot less cramming come exam season.
4. Write your notes like you’re writing down the answers to potential exam questions
A great way to start preparing for third term is to write your notes like you’re answering an exam question. You don’t have to write entire essays in response (if you do, kudos to you!) But you can write down an outline with key bits of information.
Usually, your course will have a bank of past exam questions you can grab inspiration from. If not, you could ask your lecturer for some.
Go online for some serious notes inspo
If you haven’t heard of the ‘studyblr’ trend, you’re in for a treat. Apparently, taking visually amazing lecture notes is now cool if you’re on the Internet. Who would have thunk it?
Head over to Instagram, Tumblr or Pinterest and search for ‘studyblr’. If you’re on Tumblr, you could be lucky and stumble on a studyblr ‘masterpost’. This is where the brilliant people of Tumblr compile libraries of resources for the students who come their way. So, go forth, make notes, and get learnin’ pals! You got this.