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University students, offer me advice!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by d8g3jdh, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Ok, hopefully I'm off to post-grad in the fall, and I would like some tips as far as lectures are concerned. I'm aware that in most cases it's just a prof talking for the whole time, what I want to know is how you take notes. Do you just write like the wind and abbreviate like a mofo? Or do you get a recorder? Or does your school post the lessons online/on CD?

    The reason I want to know is because I'm considering getting a long-range recorder for when I go, but they're expensive and apparently they are unable to filter out surrounding noise. So if you do in fact use a voice recorder, could you let me know what brand and make it is? I'm just really worried about not having complete study notes. :help:
  2. I write longhand but abbreviate a bit and only really write down the principle points. You don't have to get everything down, as long as there's enough to jog your memory in those last minute cramming sessions you will inevitably have:)
  3. Don't assume the stereotype that college classes are all lecture-based. In my experience, some of the larger general education classes were set up this way, none of the classes for my major were.

    It's possible that most of the lecture material will be made available online, saving you the trouble of writing down everything said in a lecture. How you study/absorb information will depend on how your class is set up.
  4. PunkerTrav


    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    It differes between professors, but most of mine have put up a set of lecture notes/outlines. These will contain the bare bones information taught in the lecture. To make the most of these outlines I add shorter notes and explanations as well as finer details.

    While I don't use one, I imagine a recorder could be a very useful tool. If you are worried about ambient nosie being picked up you can ask your prof if it's ok to put your recorder on something up at the front of the class. That way it's closer to him/her and further from your classmates.

    I can't say how profs will do things where you go to school but this is how it happens at my school.
  5. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    All my classes besides math have lecture notes available from the bookstore or online. They are usually copies of the powerpoint presentations that my profs are teaching from. I just take these to class and write down additional information I may need. Sometimes I don't write anything, other times I get behind because I'm writing alot, it just depends on my grasp of the subject matter. For me a recorder would be totally pointless.
  6. lbpark

    lbpark Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Mobile, Al.
    Varies between teachers.

    I'm taking 4 courses right now. For one, I don't take notes because everything you need to know comes from the book and nothing extra is thrown in during lecture. For 2 classes, the professor prints out powerpoint notes ahead of time and distributes them. This is VERY convenient but it rarely happens. For my last class, nothing is handed out.

    Over time, you'll learn to what to write down. Your ears will filter out all the extra flare and examples stated in lecture. It's all about writing the main concept of what's being taught. But, with today's technology, I rarely have classes that don't offer some sort of online lecture notes. It's mostly the older teachers who still lecture with a chalkboard.

    Ditch the recorder idea. I tried that for one class. After you go to class once, you'll never listen to the tape again. Just learn to take good notes.
  7. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I would say that it largely depends on what the class is. For science based classes I take rough notes, usually just a few equations and ideas so that I can catch what the prof feels is important and then I rely on the textbook as a source of detailed information if I didn't absorb it in class.

    Some other classes this doesn't work in. I had one politics class taught by an extreme feminist where it was necessary to write everything down from class as there was no proper textbook for the class and the prof made it clear on the first essay that the only ideas that were valid were hers. Some people tried to fight her on it and nearly failed the course, I just regurgitated her crap, got the mark I needed and then promptly forgot everything after the final exam.

    It also depends how you learn. Some learn from writing it, some from hearing it, etc.
  8. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    Just take notes, it's not as hard as you might think. I've never had a class where I was unable to keep up. And writing everything down really helps you remember.
  9. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    More and more instructors, like me, provide students with basic note sheets to help them along. I do far more than necessary because I teach in the community college system where most of my students have no idea on how to take notes in any meaningful way. My best suggestions for those lecture courses that do not provide outlines:

    1. Work in a bullet-point/numerical outline form

    2. Create your own short-hand system. Abbreviate everything you can. For instance, w/o for without, @ for around, that sort of thing. Some reptitive ideas or functions can be symbolically represented

    3. Find the best pen for easy writing. Cheap BICs are horrible and you have to fight them. I like a smooth felt-tip. No fatigue.

    4. Use an audio recorder

    5. Make a note buddy - between the two of you, you should avoid any gaps
  10. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    Post-grad? At your age I would guess that you really mean undergraduate. Post graduate would be... after graduate, which is after college. Maybe you have a different system over there. Eh.

    I've never had a problem keeping up with notes, no matter how fast the professor is speaking. I write down every detail and use relatively little shorthand. Some of my friends have commented that I write fast, but eh... I don't think I'm particularly talented in that department. You can record lectures, but I've never bothered with that. It's really not a big deal: the average person in the class is probably sleeping, texting, drawing or thinking about how soon he or she can get crunked.

    College is so much easier than I thought it would be, even now that I'm taking 7 classes (1cr ecology independent study, 1cr chem II lab, 3 cr chem II lec, 4cr bio II lec/lab, 3cr US History I, 4cr College English, 3cr Intro to Philosophy). Don't ask me why chemistry is split into two courses and bio isn't, because I have no idea.

    So what is your major going to be? I can tell you now that I think that... well, just about everything in college is easy. If you drink and party you will have a hard time balancing things, but if you're efficient you'll do well. I don't find that I'm working too hard, and in addition to my 19 credit load, I participate in a few extracurricular activities and commute (I live 40 minutes away, so that takes a considerable amount of time out of my schedule).
  11. jade


    Mar 8, 2002
    Some of my prof have the powerpoint of their notes online, so I just print those off and write on them using the class. Once in a while, the prof would had out powerpoint but that's really rare. The rest of the profs would write notes overheads and the class would write along.

    I wouldnt bother with a recorder. When will you have the time to listen to the recordings? I also dont think it's useful especially when the prof is talking about diagrams and point at stuff. It's hard to make out what their talking about with just the recording.
  12. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    Believe it or not, some people actually videotape lectures. I've seen it happen.
  13. jade


    Mar 8, 2002
    They have a lot of time on their hands.. maybe too much time. :spit:
  14. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Doesn't surprise me. Some lecturers are very skilled in body language, so you're missing a part if you just get an audio recording. And with a laptop and a webcam, it's easy to do and distribute locally. I mentioned this on some other board and got laughed off, though. "Yeah? Try it and see what they think about it!" was the comment, so dunno.

    I guess you'll find out the best method when you attend the lecturers youself. Just don't be too busy write to follow the lecturer, but try to get the key points where to remember the lecture issues on paper.
  15. If you are going to record the prof, MAKE SURE that everyone in the room know. There are various laws about recording audio, and you have to CYA all the time.

    Learning to write notes is an artform in itself. Don't worry about it. After you're thrid week, it'll all be easy. But if the prof is going to fast, and you see other students struggling, don't be afraid to ask them to go over it again. And if the prof keeps doing it, try and talk to them.

    I guess I'm lucky. I haven't had to take any of those huge classes, like General Geology or Writing 101. I think the biggest college class I've been in is my Judicial Process class, which has 35 people in it. This makes taking notes really easy, as I can see everything well in the smaller rooms. And I'm good friends with the head of the Criminal Justice department.:D

    Rock on
  16. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    have you not had to write notes in high school, etc.?

  17. I did very little note writing in high school. Most of the academic classes were "read this chapter, do these questions, study this section for the test" kind of things. The one class that I did have to take notes in was AP Physics, and that was because the teachers really tried to stretch our brains. Mr. King was a great physics teacher. Completely crazy. But determined to show that physics occured in our daily lives.

    Which doesn't explain how a bowling ball ended up in the wall of the weight room.:D

    Rock on
  18. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Of course, but they are all small classes and the teacher makes notes on the board.

    The reason I created this thread was because all of my professors are making it sound like -in university, the classes are enormous, the teachers don't care about you, and if you can't write a million words a minute you'll fail every class.- God damn high school teachers.

    Anyways, good to know this isn't the case.
  19. university isnt like that, they dont talk too fast usually so you should be fine

    at my uni they post most of the notes online before hand, so the best thing to do is print them off as powerpoint handouts with 3 slides on a page, each with a blank/lined space beside it for adding notes

    altho . . . on saying that, ive not been to a lecture in about 2 weeks, its just getting to hard to keep ontop of the work these days
  20. That threw me as well.
    Mohawk- I feel your pain:(

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