What to Write in a Lecture Note

What to Write in a Lecture Note?

Note taking is not write down everything. Some student’s notebook look like text books. Some others are not able to write anything in their note-book. You need to understand what to write in a lecture note and what not.

We have already discussed about some tips of note making and some methods of note taking. There we already explained about preparations required before the lecture, how to write note during the lecture and how to review it after the lecture.

In this article we are going to discuss about what to write down or identifying what is important during a lecture. These are some basic steps or methods you can follow to identify main points.

What to Write in a Lecture Note?

Writing notes doesn’t mean to write everything. A lecture note is not the recording, it must be the extract of the lecture. You must write the main points of the lecture only. A lecture may include many things in it, your aim must be to pick up the correct and wanted things from it. The question now is how we could understand which is important which is not. That is how do you know what the professor’s main points are?

In the following section we are going to understand how to follow the lecture and what to write in a lecture note so that your note become good one. This will help you to understand the main points in a lecture.

1. Listen…Listen…Listen…

There is no alternative for listening the lecture for writing the note. If you are not listening, no meaning of writing a note. You can’t follow the lecture as well not able to write it down. So practice listening skills, improve concentration skills. These can be improved by meditation. Avoid unnecessary thinking by your mind, create interest in the subject, prepare something, and study what taught before.

2. Follow your professor’s cues

Your professor’s wording will give you some idea about the important points in the topic. So follow the wordings. Mostly, this is the guide that help you to write down good note. Here are some examples of cues your professor may give during the lecture. If you hear these cues, it mostly means it is important, so write it in the note.

  • Repeats the points: Repeating the point means that it is important and he wants you to note it down and not miss it. This includes the point he repeats slowly to write it down.
  • Says directly it is important: Sometimes professor says, “this is important”, or “this will be on the test”, or “you need to study it”, or “this is the basic point”, etc.
  • Pointing out relations: If the professor points out relation between something, it is important. If he says, “this is main point” or “this is sub point / sub heading number 1”, or “point number 1, 2, 3, …” or “first, second, third, ….”, or “most significant”, etc.
  • Written or shown: Professor writes something on the board or topics there in the slides or presentations.
  • Gives Emphasis: Write down what your professor gives more emphasis on. He may say it loud, clear, repeat, etc.

3. Review and Summary of Professor

Most professors start the lecture with a review of previous class (if topics of present lecture is a continuation of previous lecture) and ends the lecture with a summary of the lecture. Write it down. This is the summary of the lecture. This mostly includes all the important points you required to remember and recollect.

4. Revise your notes

Sometimes you may miss some points in between. Make note of this and leaves blank spaces. It can be filled by peer discussions, comparing your note with others, or referring to the reference texts. Also you can ask your professor directly after the class in person or when he gives time to discussion or clearing doubts in the class.


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