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  • Réka Szalai

To take notes or not to take notes

Updated: May 15

Imagine this, you are sitting in a lecture at 10 am Monday morning and you are wondering whether you should be taking notes or just read through the slides (or go back to sleep)?


Here are three possibilities, and which decision you should make:

1. The lecture slides are very detailed

2. The lecture slides do not have much information on them

3. The lecturer does not talk about the content on the slides


1. The lecture slides are very detailed

If the lecture slides are self-explanatory there is not much need to copy the same things during the class on your computer or by hand, because it can hinder you from understanding the content. You could either just copy paste the information on the PPT into a word document or download the PPT in advance. This will take you 5-10 minutes and I promise you it makes all the difference! If any additional information is said just add it to your prepared notes, which will ensure that you concentrate.


If you have already familiarized yourself with the content of the lecture beforehand consider writing questions instead of additional information. By asking questions and answering them every few weeks makes sure that you actively recall the material, and you will be prepared for exams without extra revision.


2. The lecture slides do not have much information on them

If the slides have amazing figures and pictures but basically no letters, well that is when you must take notes. Try to concise the information and try to work together with your peers. If you have lecture notes already prepared by the professor, (you can call yourself lucky and) you can use one of the above-mentioned techniques.


3. The lecturer does not talk about the content on the slides

If for some reason, there is not much information told by the lecturer that correlates to the slides try to capture the most important words and how the terms are connected. If there is lecture capture the day is saved, but in any other instance just try to write down as much as possible on the lecture, do not panic, ask around after the class and google the terms at home.


Please let us know what you think in the comments and enjoy your weekend!


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