how do you listen to lectures?

I'm interested in knowing how you guys that are more advanced in university studies, listen to lectures. The first month or so i was taking notes like a madman, but i found it really hard to grasp what was going on while doing it since my mind was kinda preoccupied with just managing to write everything down (also different on each professor on how much/fast they'd write). Lately, the past two weeks, i've just tried to have read what it's about when coming to the lecture and trying to understand it, then just sitting there and trying to grasp it better when the teacher says it, without taking any notes.

Which ones would you recommend? It kinda seems like most of the stuff he's doing is already in the book, so writing it down is kinda redundant, but his explenations are often more clear then the ones in the book etc.

Of course it varies per instructor; your main job the first week of
classes is to figure out which instructors you should avoid.

Most people are poor communicators & instructors are no exception.

You get a Socratic class & that's one thing, but most undergrad classes
you can get by just recording the lecture for future reference if
necessary & doing your homework in class.



Well i guess i'm lucky then, i got pretty great teachers right now at least (and i really like the supplementary "Problem solving" classes they got now). I've been to some lectures (outside the cirriculum) where i didn't like the professors since they didn't seem to convey their stuff well. So maybe when i get into more advanced physics i'll start getting the more eccentric professors :P

When I take notes, I don't do it to look at them later. I never look at them later, ever. The reason I do it is that just the act of writing it down will burn it into your memory better than listening alone. When you want to write it again in a test, you will have the muscle memory of moving the pen around a little bit.

It's a waste of time to try to write everything though. I only write down things that I feel are important, which ends up being anywhere from one or two lines to about half a page for a whole lecture.

I learn better without writing stuff down. Many friends learn by writing. Just do what works for you.

I read the pertinent chapters for the lecture before the lecture. This way I'll be able to filter out the stuff that I can ween from the book vs. the stuff that the professor presents. Sometimes the prof. will derive an equation in a different way, or he will think one thing is more important than the others. This is the stuff that I will write down.

socratic rules.


alot of my instructors actually did their lectures on PowerPoint and gave the class copies of the slides, which allowed us to sit back and read along, taking occasional notes.

major in a field you love and actually enjoy the class

As a lecturer I'll put in my 2 pennies. If your instructor is worth his salt he should give the class a reading list of what the next lecture is about. So therefore you have a broad knowledge about what they are talking about and can follow easily. Also, powerpoint slides should be provided.

The only problem is that 99% are very lazy, which puts eager students like yourself in a bad position. They seemed to think because I provided them with handouts they didn't need to go to class and in the exams just regurgitated the notes instead of doing any background reading. For me I see lectures as an opportunity to make a cohesive link between the studies and arguments that the class have been reading about for the past week. Then students are compelled to go away and develop their own angle. Lectures are the guide to your study, not a dissemination of all you need to know.

So the majority of my students are not following my lectures because they don't do the background reading beforehand. But I am not going to take away from the conscientious students who put their time into coming to class prepared. My only advice is try and get a grasp of what the lecture is going to cover before you go and you should be able to follow. It sad the way lazy students abusing the provided notes mean guys like you have to spend the whole time writing in the lecture instead of being able to put your feet up and listen.

Just found this one again figured i'd throw in what i do now 5 months into my studies.

Basicly i am not writing down anymore, and i'm pretty much doing what crunion suggested. Since my lecturers do put out a reading list for each leacture i TRY to have read, even if only briefly, through the material so i'm not seeing it for the first time, but i don't write anything down really.

My REAL problem is that i have to fight to stay awake during lectures, even if it's somtehing that i'm really interested in it's just killing me. Weird thing is, even though i'm more interested in physics then math, i have a much harder time staying alert and awake during physics lectures then math o_O Trying to supplement this with chocolate covered coffee beans but it's not going too well.

I agree with you on the staying awake problem. I would be inclined to blame the instructors and their poor technique but you need to accept that usually we are given huge groups all at various abilities and they will never all be equally interested. My last group was 380 - though rarely more than 200 showed up.

Don't know what the answer is really. I have the same problem is church. I want to listen, want to learn and develop spiritually but find my mind drifting during the monotone sermons.

Catch up on sleep while letting some friends who you know take great notes go to lectures for you:P

Nah. I used to try and take notes, but that didnt always work cause some lecturers just ramble on, others speak too fast, others go off on tangents too much. Plus my handwriting was often difficult to read after taking notes. So I would try and do as my as I can, but nonetheless ended up getting notes from other students, especially ones who had an ability to write clearly and quickly.

This enables you to get other's perspectives on the same lesson, and re-inforces the lesson itself cause you're re-reading the material.

Some students wold use 'spidergrams' or 'mind maps' or whatever you want to call them. Worked great for them. Could never do it meself.

Laptops? damn, not in my days, and that wasnt even that long ago.

Sleeping problem can be solved by getting adequate sleep the night before.