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Academic Mentoring Resources: Listening to Lectures

Listening to Lectures

Use your metacognition skills (Plan, Monitor, Evaluate) for lectures to minimize time and maximize learning by following a notetaking strategy.

Video by Thomas Frank, 2014.

Plan | Prepare

  • Take a few minutes to preview material that may be covered in class. The goal is to become slightly familiar with the information so that the class material will be less overwhelming.

  • Read and pay attention to titles, bolded terms, objectives, and the summary/conclusion.

  • Write down any questions that come up while you are previewing to ask in class.

  • Watch the video below to learn about Cornell Note-taking System and prepare the three sections on your piece of paper.

Video by Learning Strategies Center, Cornell University, 2019.

Monitor | Record-Reduce

  • Record:

    • In the wide column on the right ("Notes"), write down the information from the lecture. Use an informal outline or a modified block style of note-taking.

    • Check with your professor or classmates after class if you missed a portion of the information.

    • Check to make sure your notes are legible.

  • Reduce:

    • As soon as the class is finished, reduce the content down to important Recall Questions.

    • Write the Recall Questions in the left hand margin ("Cue"). the questions should be located near where the answers will be found in the notes (right hand margin).

    • Underline or highlight the answers to each Recall Question

    • You can transfer these Q&A's to notecards for portable studying.

Evaluate | Recite-Reflect-Recap-Review

  • Recap
    • Write a summary at the bottom section of the page.

    • Try to capture the main points on each page and put it in your own words.

    • At the end of each major section or chapter, write a summary section for the whole topic. 

  • Reflect

    • How does this relate to the previous lecture notes?

    • How can you apply this information?

    • What ideas or terms are important to know?

  • Recite

    • Practice these Q&A's by reciting the answers out loud and in your own words from memory.

    • Cover up the answers in the right hand column. Check your answers and keep repeating until you have mastered the content.

  • Review

    • Before you start studying the new material each night, quickly review your old notes.

    • Ask yourself the Recall Questions and check to see if your answers are correct.

    • Try to summarize the page based on the topic at the top of the page.

    • A brief review each night is more effective than a late night study session the night before the exam.