Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

How To Understand a Lecture, Take Notes, Reorganize Notes

This section is to help you successfully maneuver and understand a lecture…


i. The organization of the lecture matters. During a lecture, make it your goal to recognize the first two levels. The first level should be the overarching question(s) or theme(s) of the lecture. The second level should be the evidence that supports the drawn conclusion or theme.

  • Level 1: Why is it good to brush your teeth?
  • Level 2: Brushing your teeth is necessary in order to prevent cavities, and bad breath, and promote overall bodily health.

ii. Be on time and ready for the lecture to avoid missing any important information.

iii. Pay attention to any verbal and nonverbal cues that help identify the structure of the lecture.

Verbal Cues

  1. “The first (second, third) reason for this is…”
  2. “We now know that…”
  3. “This means…”
  4. “Okay.

Nonverbal Cues

  1. Stopping for questions
  2. consulting notes

iv. Though a lecture may just seem like sitting there and listening, it requires students to be actively thinking in order to extract the hierarchy of the lecture. Be prepared to put in effort!

v. Take notes even if the instructor or speaker gives you their own notes. They should be used to help aid your own understanding of the material, not as a substitute for your own notes.

vi. Should you do the reading before or after the lecture?

  1. Balance your instructor’s expectations with how you learn best (i.e. doing the assigned reading before OR after the lecture, but completing both tasks nonetheless to obtain comprehension of the topic).

vii. Know when and how to ask questions

  1. Questions are useful for clarification and providing feedback for instructors!
  2. Asking questions is a necessary skill and there is always room for improvement.