Reading and Note Taking

Learning from Lectures

A lot of important information will be given to you in the form of lectures so you need to develop the skills to get the most out of your learning experience.

Before the lecture

Make sure you know what the lecture is going to be about!

  • Access the module information on LearningSpace. Do some pre-reading and any tasks you have been set so that you have some background knowledge
  • Review the material covered in any previous lectures on this topic
  • Make sure you have either a mobile device, laptop, tablet etc. or a good old  pen and a notebook to make notes.
  • Arrive in good time
  • If possible, get a copy of your lecturer’s hand-outs from LearningSpace  beforehand – print or download them, then you can annotate them during the lecture

During the lecture

  • Try to listen actively otherwise you will soon stop concentrating.
  • Note the title of the lecture, the name of the course and the date.
  • Listen carefully to the introduction and make a note of the main points to be covered
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions at the end


Taking effective notes is the key to getting the most out of lectures.

  • Don’t try and write down everything – be brief
  • Note down the points that the lecturer stresses or repeats
  • Listen out for signals such as ‘The most important thing to remember is…’
  • Leave space so you can review and expand your notes
  • Listen to the end of the lecture carefully. The lecturer may give a summary - make
  • notes of the main points and listen out for recommendations for further reading.
  • Try to write neatly and legibly
  • Use colour to highlight key points and to divide subject areas
  • Develop alternative note-making strategies such as mind maps 

After the lecture

The sooner and more often you review your notes the better.

  • Revise and expand your notes.
  • Compare your notes with other students. Fill in the gaps and/or identify any                          misunderstandings
  • Make a note of any queries and ask your tutor for help
  • Use colour to highlight key areas.
  • File your notes away carefully
  • When you have a few spare minutes, look back over your notes



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