Throwback: “3 Simple Tips to Survive Your First Lecture: Part 2- Note Taking”

Written by: Sarah Camacho

Physically preparing yourself for a lecture is one thing. Knowing the proper way to take notes is another thing. There isn’t one right way to take notes during a lecture. Everyone is different, therefore everyone learns differently. Here is the second part of the “How to Survive Your First Lecture” series, focusing on note taking.

Tip #1: Taking Notes

How are you going to take notes during a lecture? This truly depends on your preference and your style of learning. However, I think it is important to consider:

1. Can you write fast enough to catch everything the professor is saying?
2. If not, are able to refrain from getting side-tracked using your laptop to take notes?

Handwriting my notes kept me focused during the lecture, but I can’t write fast enough so I missed a lot of information. When I switched to typing my notes I was able to get everything down, but then I’d get distracted. There are definite pros and cons to both methods of note taking and it might take some experimenting for you, which is totally okay! Eventually, you’ll find the most efficient way for you.

Tip #2: Highlighting

If you handwrite or type your notes, always pull out the highlighters. Colour coordinating my notes has saved my life! If you type your notes, print them out. Have a binder for each course you are taking and clearly label each lecture. Not only will your notes be extremely colourful from all the highlighting, it’ll really help you when it comes time for finals. If you highlight key terms or important points, when you have to study you won’t be
wasting your time studying silly things that may not be important.

Tip #3: Use an agenda!

Lastly, your agenda should be your best friend. The school provides them every year, but I always buy my own because purchasing a new one gets me so excited. Using your agenda daily can really help keep your head on straight especially if you use it religiously. The monthly calendars allow you to see which weeks are really hectic and the weekly sections allow you to organize and divide your time up amongst all your readings and assignments. If you’re anything like me (a control freak) then agendas allow you to relax.

I really hope these tips will help you decide the best way for you to take notes.
Enjoy your time here at TrentU Durham, because it’s going to fly by!

I’ll see ya’ll next time!

(Image source:

This post was originally posted on the Student Life Blog on August 24, 2015, and can be found here. Sarah was entering her final year of her BA when this blog was originally posted.

If you are an incoming student interested in sharing your experiences as you enter TrentU Durham, and want to join the Student Life Blog team, click here.

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