Thinking about the way you learn
Throughout your time at University you will have to process a lot of information from lectures and seminars to research for essays and assignments. It’s important that during this time you have the right skills to remember as much of this information as possible. Learning is not an instant process and unless you have a photographic memory you will find that you have to return to things multiple times before you remember them. There are many ways to help you learn all of the information that’s thrown at you, and with new apps that can sync your work across multiple devices, note taking has never been easier. However, the process of learning is more than just taking down notes so here are some tips for getting the most from your University lectures:
Type your notes in lectures and seminars
It is generally acknowledged that, certainly amongst younger people, typing notes is faster than writing by hand. It has also been suggested that typing notes allows you to focus more on what’s being said. This may be due to the fact you are typing faster so don’t worry so much about missing points but it also has a lot to do with not engaging the same cognitive parts of your brain as you do when writing. What this means is that you won’t retain information as efficiently, typing as you do when writing, but you will be able to type more and listen better.
Record your lectures
It can be hard when taking notes to decide what the most valuable information is. More often than not this means that you end up trying to write down everything the lecturer is saying without actually listening properly to what is being said. Recording your lectures means you don’t have to worry so much about missing a piece of information because you can always return to it later. This will allow you to focus on what the lecturer is saying and pick out those really valuable pieces of information that you want to write down. Returning to the recording of the lecture later will give you a chance to see if you’ve missed anything and help cement ideas in your memory.
Return to your notes – and write them up by hand
As mentioned above you should type your notes as it’s more efficient but then a later date you should return to your notes and write them up by hand. Research has proven that writing up your notes by hand makes you more likely to remember them. It also allows time for reflection where you can add extra thoughts and ideas to your notes based on your own opinion.
Stick to pen and paper for creative tasks
As mentioned in this article here many people will argue that creative tasks such as brainstorming or even essay writing, to a certain extent, are better done with a pen. There’s a freedom that comes with writing by hand that simply can’t be achieved on the computer. There are no restrictions as to where you can write and you’re able to connect your thoughts as you see fit or highlight those, which you consider important. On the other hand, writing by hand rids you of the distractions of a computer. You don’t worry too much about how it reads or edit it as you go along; you just let your thoughts flow and get it all on paper.
Everybody learns differently and you may have your own techniques for learning that you find more efficient than others. However, following these steps throughout the year will make the process of learning easier and mean when you return to your notes to revise at a later date, you will have a more solid foundation to build upon.