7 Useful Tips to Improve Your Lecture Notes

Student Life

When you are a student in high school, college, or a university, you might notice that you have to take lecture notes while the teacher is teaching and giving explanations. Lecture notes are notes made by a person who is attending a lecture to recall the information at a later time. Here are 7 useful tips to improve your lecture notes greatly. All the tips are going to make your lecture notes better, easier to read, more efficient, and quicker to take.

1. Understand the explanation first before writing it down

Teachers always explain continuously and fast. The 1st tip is that you have to listen carefully and attempt to find and observe the keywords or concepts in the teacher’s explanation. Lecture notes don’t have to contain every single word of the teachers’ explanations, but the essential part is to listen to the teachers and understand what they tried to tell us. Sometimes teachers might reiterate the crucial and dominant points by repeating those statements, because students should acquire the understanding at that point and see that it has more importance than other details. These should be filed inside your lecture notes.

2. Use abbreviations and symbols instead of writing full texts or explanations

It will reduce your time of writing lecture notes instead of spending time writing every word, text, or explanation. Furthermore; it will be easier and quicker to follow other details of teachers’ explanations.

An abbreviation or an acronym is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Please be cautious that every abbreviation must be understood by you. For example, AKA (Also Known As), is used when referring to people who have a pen name, a stage name, or some other type of lives and ideas such as Richard Bachman (AKA: Stephen King)

Symbols are not alphabetic. You have to use your imagination and familiarity. There are so many famous and standard emojis that have been accepted by many others. For example, the Tree emoji: it refers to a tree. The tree has roots, a main trunk, branches, and leaves. This represents relationships from the basics to the end results.

A concept map

3. Try to create mind maps or concept maps

A Concept map or conceptual diagram is a diagram that depicts suggested relationships between concepts. A Mind map is a type of diagram (= simple plan) with lines and circles for organizing information so that it is easier to use or remember.

Find the main topic and the other details of your lessons and connect them with colorful lines. It means that you match familiar things together. Let’s begin with the main title of the lesson, then connect with the specific details step by step. Use all the types of lines to connect main topics to each specific topic also matching with other details. This can manipulate your idea and your lecture notes more systematically. However, you have to ensure that your lines and your manipulations of mind maps or concept maps are not going to be too complicated to read in the future.

4. Highlight crucial texts

Highlighting is to indicate an outstanding part of some details or information. To highlight can make it easier reading and finding the point of the details easier. Furthermore, the highlight can make your lecture notes more interesting to read and easier to understand. These are 5 general highlight colors; which are Blue, Yellow, Green, Purple and Orange. Each of the colors is going to help you memorize and you can use specific colors to highlight crucial texts.

  1. Pink is the highlight color for Names of people, places, and famous dates.
  2. Yellow is the highlight color of comparison sentences.
  3. Purple is the highlight color of numbers.
  4. Green is the highlight color of your mistake points and translation.
  5. Orange is the highlight color of keywords.
  6. Yellow is the highlight color of examples.

5. Drawing pictures

Words can’t tell you everything! There is an idiom that says “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Sometimes, drawings can indicate the details or stories that help readers see more ideas. It doesn’t mean that you have to draw it beautifully, but you have to draw and understand your pictures. Also, you can draw pictures and write a short explanation to remind you of what it is. Drawing with many colors is going to make your lecture notes beautiful and readers will be more interested to read them.

6. Make it as an easy pattern

When you record lecture notes, you have to assure that you can understand everything that you wrote down. It means that your lecture notes should be easy to read and understand. Please avoid writing it in a complicated fashion. Use apparent language, clear topics, and clear details step by step. Remember that you must understand what you’ve written in your lecture notes because you need to use them to do the review after. Organizing your lecture notes well can help you to understand the lessons.

7. Having Post-its

A Post-it is a piece of paper with an adhesive strip on one side, designed to be stuck prominently to an object or surface and easily removed when necessary. This accessory is going to help you to add more space in your notebook. If you have any summarizing points or important texts, you will add it to the Post-it. There are so many shapes, sizes, and types; such as the small size, the circle shape of a Post-it, reminder Post-it papers, etc. Post-its can help you to plan to-do lists easier, find the spaces of your notebook and paste them down.

Lecture notes are one of the ways to help you to understand the lessons easier and more efficiently. These 7 tips are going to produce the lecture notes better which are 1. Understand the explanation first before writing it down 2. Use the abbreviation and symbols instead of writing full texts or explanations 3. Try to create mind maps or concept maps 4. Highlight crucial texts 5. Drawing pictures 6. Make it an easy pattern and 7. Having Post-it. These tips might for better lecture notes are going to help you guys feel greater to understand the lessons. However, only great lecture notes cannot help you more understand lessons efficiently and professionally. You should pay attention to your lessons and be hard working.

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Chayanon Kesorn

My ecstatic day is bloomed! Imported directly from the land of smiles. JJ is currently a high school student [Major: Sci-Math]. He loves learning about gastronomy, world cultures, journalism, physics and history. He fell in love with writing since he has been in the high school. JJ is a writer of The Teen Magazine now.


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