How to learn a lecture conspect


Despite the fact that the technologies have had a great impact on the learning process, at many courses the classes are still held in the form of lectures. Ability to conduct well notes on which you can learn the subject – the most important skill for successful learning, which will be your trump card in the labor market, where competition is getting higher and higher. Studies confirm that students who are able to review lectures and diligently study their records show higher results in examinations. The ability to learn the lecture notes requires proper organization and preparation, in order to effectively cope with the task.


Preparation for lecture notes


Create an organization system


A properly organized conspect of lectures is one of the most important tools for preparing for the exam in your arsenal. A scattered, unsystematic, incomplete and inconsistent summary only depresses and deprives you of precious time that can be spent on studying instead of trying to systematize scraps. Here are some ways to organize a summary that will help not to be trapped.

Choose multi-colored folders and exercise books for different subjects. For example, buy a green folder and notebook for natural sciences, a blue notebook and a folder for history, a red notebook and a folder for literature and so on. On the first page, specify the title of the item and the date, and then start to keep a summary. Each subsequent lecture begins with a new page, again indicating the name and date. Having skipped the lesson, leave a few blank pages in the notebook and ask your friend or teacher for a summary to complete your notes.

Another way to organize notes is to buy a folder for three rings, a bundle of offset paper, index dividers and a folder-pocket to add the materials and tasks to be distributed. Insert a sufficient number of sheets for the first item, then the folder-pocket and subject divider. Repeat for the next item. If you have a changing schedule, then buy two folders. In one you can add materials on natural sciences and history, and in the second – on literature and the history of art.

If the teacher allows you to use the laptop for lecturing notes, create a separate folder for each subject. On each lecture a) create a new document and choose “Save as” by entering the date and the short title of the lecture (so you can quickly navigate the lectures when it comes to preparing for the exam) or b) create one document in which you will indicate the title and date of each lecture. Leave a little space between the lectures, and the title with the date should be highlighted in bold large font so that they catch your eye when you look at it.


Read the materials before the lesson begins


Reading before classes charges your most important neural networks. It’s like a warm-up before going in for sports. You will better perceive the subject in question, absorb and re-comprehend additional material faster and allocate especially significant moments (for example, when the teacher spends 10 minutes talking about a poisonous frog, and not a spotty salamander, during a lecture on amphibians). During the reading, make notes about difficult places. See the meaning of terms that you do not know or that are not fully explained in the material. Write down questions that can be asked in the lesson if the teacher does not review them during the lecture.

Sometimes teachers spread the materials of the classes on the Internet, including lectures, texts for reading and useful links. If this is not indicated in the program of classes, then ask the teacher where you can take these materials.

If the teacher uses electronic materials in the classroom, but does not upload them online, then try asking for it.


See the conspects of previous lectures


Before the lesson, review your previous lecture notes to refresh your knowledge. Write down all the questions that arise and ask them during the lecture. The review of abstracts will help to get better into a new lecture, especially when the classes are connected thematically. Also you will listen to the material more carefully, which is extremely useful for memorizing.

Repetition before each session will allow to achieve the effect of multiplication, due to which the study of all subsequent lectures will be given much easier.
In addition, you will always be ready for the inevitable and previously frightening off-schedule control!


Review, arrange, repeat and digest information


Approach the revision strategically


Multiple reading of lectures in a short time (usually a day before the exam) is common, but studies have shown that this is an extremely inefficient learning strategy. After all, our brain is not a DVR. Nevertheless, reading the abstracts of different lectures more than once is very useful if you do it right. There are two ways to most effectively review the abstracts: time-sharing and mixing topics.

Correctly plan time for studying the abstract of each lecture. For example, reread your synopsis within 24 hours of recording. Having done this, you will remember about 50% of all material. After 24 hours you can only remember 20% of the material. Then wait a week or two before rereading the lecture.

The advice to postpone the re-reading may seem stupid, don’t you forget a lot during waiting?, But cognitive psychologists have found that the closer you are to forget the material, the better you fix the information in the long-term memory with new reading and memorizing.

You can also read the outline aloud. So you turn passive activity into an active one and create in your memory auditory connections.

Mix the topics you are studying. Say, you allocated two hours a day for training. Instead of spending them on studying lectures on one subject, allocate half an hour for one subject, another half hour for another, and then repeat. For such a blending of topics (bundle), there is a need for such loading of information that forces the brain to notice similarities and differences-processing of information of a higher order that enhances understanding and long-term memorization.

Part of the mode of action of this method of learning is that as soon as you begin to think that you know the material, you need to switch and some time to work with another topic. So put aside your blue notebook and take the red folder.


Bring the entries in order


Make a brief summary of the synopsis on the day of the lecture, but not later than the next day. After highlighting key points, ideas, dates, names and examples from the lecture, rewrite the conclusions in your own words. Paraphrasing the text of the lecture, you will strain your brain. The more often the brain is strained, the better it works (for good reason they say that “movement is life”). Finally, write down all the questions that you have raised so that you can later find answers to them.

Another way is to create a conceptual map that is a scheme that provokes critical thinking by demonstrating the connection between the concepts, allowing you to organize and evaluate key ideas and supporting details contained in the lecture notes. The more connections between ideas you can identify, the better you will remember the material and you will be able to realize the “whole picture”, which is very useful for you on composition, test work or at the exam.

It is interesting to know that recent studies have shown that although most students try to write down everything the instructor said verbatim, using laptops (because it can be printed faster than handwriting), hand-out lectures are better understood and memorized because they involve active listening and target selection of recorded information.

Nevertheless, many students try to write down everything that the teacher has said by hand. To better remember and effectively study the notes, turn the recorded text into a plan. So with your extensive records it will become more convenient to work, and you will be able to move information faster through neural pathways for long-term memorization by repeated exposure.


Repeat the information


Review the summary, conclusions, conceptual map or plan in a few minutes. Then repeat the information aloud in your own words. Repeat 2-3 times, then use the time intervals defined in the time-sharing clause.

Repetition by heart is one of the most active ways of learning and remembering. It helps to identify gaps in memory and understanding, to flesh out key ideas, to test common perceptions and to find connections between concepts.

You can make cards-tips. Take a pack of small cards and write down on them keywords (never write full sentences) or ideas, dates, schemes, formulas or names, and then start talking aloud. If you made them according to plan, it is better to mix them first. This is a return to the idea that the confusion of information causes the brain to work more intensively and more reliably to store information.


Understand the information from the abstract


Deliberation is a process of thoughtful, profound thinking on the material. We better remember what we can personalize, so thinking about and relating the stored material to our experience is especially useful. Here are some examples of questions that you can ask yourself to strengthen the thought process. To optimize your thoughts, write down your answers by hand, make plans or diagrams, or write down your thoughts on dictaphone.

“What is so important about these facts?”
“How can i apply them?”
“What else do i need to know in order to collect all the elements in a coherent picture?”
“What does my personal experience relate to this information?”
“How does this all relate to what I already know or think about the world around me?”

How to learn a lecture conspect (Part 1)

Read the second part