How to make entries


Improve the conspectus


Remember that it’s better to take notes, and not to rewrite the entire lecture under dictation entirely (or to a dictaphone). To make a good conspectus, you need to become an “active listener”. This means that you don’t just have to rewrite everything said by the lecturer or record his speech on the dictaphone. Instead, you need to process the material and write down only the main idea of what was said.

For example, instead of spending a lot of time writing down every feature of the various actions of a ruler, try to identify the key points of his general policy and write down a couple of situations as examples. Thus, you have already started the process of memorizing and thinking (in other words, the learning process).

It is very important to process the material, for this reason, many experts don’t recommend recording lectures on the dictaphone.

If you really want to record lectures on the dictaphone (or it is necessary for some reason) – write down. Ask the lecturer whether it is possible to record his speech on dictaphone. Lecture is a kind of property of the person who reads it. In addition, in some educational institutions there are certain rules regarding the recording of lecture.


Pay attention to the introduction of the lecture


Do not waste time at the very beginning of the lecture on the design of the conspectus for easier organization of notes. Always be ready to write down some important thought.
Usually a lecture begins with a brief enumeration of what will be discussed, at least, a brief introduction necessarily follows. Listen carefully to the introduction, because it will tell you how to organize your notes and what thoughts and ideas will be most important.

Don’t pay attention to late and chattering students who are not yet ready to outline the lecture.


Rewrite in the notebook everything that the lecturer writes on the blackboard


Each lecturer in his own way organizes the course of the lecture, while making some notes and sketches, even if these entries are not very clear to you.


Learn to follow the lecturer’s plan and understand his notes and different tips


The teacher will change voice in important moments of the lecture, gesticulate and, perhaps, with some other trifles, show that now it will be an important part of the lecture. Learn to recognize these hints and gestures in order to make it easier to catch the main idea of the topic.

Try to understand which of the speaker’s phrases indicate an important thought that reveals the topic. Understand that the lecturer will not start to signal you specially so that you understand that an important thought or some example will now be told. But the lecturer will necessarily try to distinguish this idea by voice or gesture. Anyway, that’s what all good lecturers usually do, so you need to be ready to recognize these signals.


For example:
There are three reasons why …
Firstly Secondly Thirdly…
The meaning of this is that …
The consequence can be …
Thus, it becomes clear that …

Learn to pay attention to other things. Before an important thought or phrase, the lecturer can begin to speak a little slower or louder, repeat the word and phrase, sustain a pause, and then continue the speech (the teacher can also take a sip of water), start more demonstratively gesticulate, stop walking around the audience and start looking at One point and so on.


Try to create your own system of abbreviations


This means that you can come up with signs and symbols, so you don’t have to rewrite every word. This useful skill will help to compose conspectus much faster, not missing anything important. When making entries, do not get carried away and draw some special schemes and icons, because it take a long time to draw and not so easy to decipher. So think of your own system of abbreviations, icons, symbols, and so on. Even if no one knows what your signs stand for, you will still understand what was meant.

Use abbreviations, skip insignificant information to make the conspectus more complete and useful. Write down only the keywords by which you can reproduce the meaning of the theme and microtemes. Pass various pretexts and conjunctions, which do not attach much importance to the lecture. Examples of reductions that will save you time are the up and down arrows to indicate the increase / decrease, the usual arrows that show a cause-effect relationship, abbreviations in the first letters (for example, IR for international relations).

Try to paraphrase everything, except for precise definitions and formulas, as well as facts that will have to be learned verbatim for the exam.

You can emphasize, circle, mark with stars or in any other way highlight key points, examples, definitions and other important entries. Think of your notation system for highlighting topics and microtemes.

Draw shemes, drawings or diagrams for concepts and things that you don’t have time or can not immediately explain and rewrite. For example, you can draw a pie chart to indicate an approximate proportion of political parties in the election, instead of describing the details for each game.


Try to write in a legible handwriting


Be sure to separate words and sentences so that the words are understandable, and you could read your notes later. One of the most unpleasant things is the inability to parse your own notes.


Leave some space to finish the missed material later


Don’t be greedy and do not try to squeeze everything into one small sheet. Leave some blank space on the page. The more spacious your entries, the easier it will be to re-read them and insert some notes and annotations. In addition, in this format it is much easier to learn and remember information.


Be attentive throughout the lecture, even at the end


Of course, when the lecture comes to an end, it’s very easy to get distracted by something. Other students will probably start collecting things, whispering and discussing lunch. Nevertheless, the conclusion of a lecture is just as important as the introduction, because usually at the end of the lecture the results of the topic are summed up and conclusions are drawn.

If at the end of the lecture the teacher begins to take stock, be sure to listen carefully. You can write this conclusion to check the organization of your records and to supplement them. If it seems to you that your records are not clearly systematized, try to have time to write down the main points from the conclusion of the lecture. This will be very useful when you review the entries.


Ask questions


During the lecture, do not hesitate to ask questions about some points and concepts that you do not understand. If other students ask questions, write down to yourself in the conspectus the question and the answer of the lecturer. This additional information can also help you find answers to your questions.

If you hesitate to ask questions at the end of the lecture (and annoy students who are already one foot behind the door), approach the lecturer personally after the lecture. Most likely, you will meet students who do the same, and will be able to listen to their questions and answers to them.

You can also make a list of questions and approach him with the teacher during other working hours.


Read the third part


How to make entries (Part 2)