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Listening and note-taking in lectures

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Listening and note taking in lectures


Language of the lecture and lecture hints

When you are listening to a lecture, it is impossible to write down all the information presented. You therefore have to make judgments about what information is important and whether to note it down.

Think about the following points in regard to your note-taking:

1.         Your position in the lecture theatre

            Don't be frightened of the lecturer. Sit close to the front, and look interested. You will hear and see better, and are more likely to find yourself in the company of committed students.

2.         The lecturer's use of voice/body language

            The lecturer's use of repetition, a change of tone, meaningful pausing or an upraised finger, etc., may indicate important content. Listen and watch for these signals.

3.         Lecture language

            A lecture is not a dictation exercise. You need to listen and make your own judgements about what you should write down. The following hints, however, may help you.

            Argument structure:

            Words such as first, second, also, furthermore, moreover, therefore and finally indicate stages in the lecturer's argument.

            But and however indicate a qualification, because a reason, and on the one hand and on the other hand indicate a contrast.

            "Signalling" words (used to indicate parts of the lecture):

            Introducing the lecture:                                                Introduction of a main point:

            "I want to start by ..."                                                       "The next point is crucial ..."

            Rephrasing the main point                                          Introducing an example:

            "The point I am making ..."                                              "Take the case of ..."

            Moving on to another main point:                                A digression:

            "I'd like to move on and look at .."                                  "That reminds me of ..."

            Summing up main points:

            "To recapitulate ..."

Abbreviations in note taking

Reducing the language - common abbreviations

­Up arrow = an increase

Down arrow = a decrease