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10 Steps to Make the Most of University Lectures

University is full of lectures!! Here’s a 10-step guide to follow to ensure you’re making the most of your lectures (and get you the top notch grades you’re seeking).


#1: Know WHEN and WHERE your class is

During university, there are lots of courses to keep track of! Keep your schedule handy and be prepared with the time and location of all your courses.

Since school is online right now, it makes this step a bit easier because you don’t need to worry about knowing and finding the location of your class! Now, you just need to make sure you have your lecture link ready ;)

#2: Prepare in advance

It’s wise to look at your syllabus to get a general overview of the content of your class! Along with that, some profs assign readings with classes. Trust me, it helps A LOT to do the readings before class. If there are no readings, rather your prof posts a powerpoint of notes, read through it! This ensures you have a sufficient amount of prior knowledge to take notes effectively and overall enhance your understanding during the class. Lastly, be sure to prepare your notes if you can! Writing the date, the title, brief headings, etc. makes note taking much easier.


#3: Choose your seat wisely

Since school is online, this is another step you don’t need to worry about for the time being. However, once we’re back on campus, selecting a seat in a large lecture hall is crucial. As you likely have experience with, sitting closer to the front (aka the prof) will increase your concentration! It’s harder to slack off when you’re so close to the prof. So do yourself a favour and at least try to sit closer to the front.

#4: Figure out the best way for you to take notes!

Note taking is very personal. If you haven’t already, explore and determine the most effective way for YOU to take notes. This can be writing with a pen and paper, typing directly on the powerpoint notes, typing on a separate document, sharing a google doc with a friend etc.

#5: Use these tips for note taking

Whether you are typing or writing, the following are general useful tips!

  1. Stay focused by removing distractions such as your phone!

  2. Be concise: don’t try to write down everything the prof says. Listen, and summarize their words concisely.

  3. Capitalize, underline, and highlight the important points or key words!

  4. Use abbreviations and create your own legend.

  5. If you think you missed something, leave a gap and ask a friend, TA or even the prof after class

#6: Ask Questions!!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the class! Online could make it easier as you have the option to type your question in the chat box if you aren’t as comfortable using your voice. If not during class, jot down your questions for yourself and ask your prof/TA after class or during office hours.

#7: Help each other out!

Having a friend in your class can be very useful! Sharing a document and taking notes together, as well as asking each other questions. But BEWARE of distractions! Use your friends as a facilitator, not an impediment.


#8: Fix your notes

Fix all the typos, fill the gaps, highlight, bold, underline, colour coat etc. to make your notes complete.

#9: Review your notes and complete any additional readings or tasks

Either as you fix your notes or afterwards, review them! Right after your class is the best time to review your notes, and if applicable, read your textbook, complete assignments or projects associated with the class content. Doing these tasks right after your first exposure to the content will likely allow you to do them quicker and more efficiently.

#10: Summarize your notes

To go above and beyond, take the time to summarize the main points of your notes. Doing this after each class will help you a lot when studying for midterms and exams!

That’s it! 10 important steps that will help you succeed during your lectures. Good luck!

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