Brainstorming by flickr user Marco Arment

Have you ever been sitting in class, furiously scribbling down every word the professor is saying and thinking to yourself “there HAS to be a better way to do this!”?

Brett & Kate McKay on the blog The Art of Manliness, offer some great study and note-taking tips:

So how do you know what the professor’s main points are? Pay attention to cues your professor gives off either consciously or subconsciously. Here are a few cues your professor may give during the lecture. Whenever you see them, it probably means he’s saying something important, so write it down.

  • Anytime the professor says, “You need to know this,” or “This will be on the test.” Duh.
  • Anytime the professor repeats himself.
  • Anything the professor writes on the board or includes in a Powerpoint slide.
  • Anything the professor repeats very slowly so that it can be taken down word for word.
  • If your professor starts talking more quickly, or loudly, or with more emphasis.
  • Watch for language that shows relationships between ideas. These sorts of points are often where professors get their exam questions from:
    • first, second, third
    • especially, most significant, most important
    • however, on the other hand
    • because, so, therefore, consequently

There are some great tips on the page, as well as the comments. What are some of your best study or note-taking tips? Share them here or on our Study Skills guide!

Leave a Reply