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University of Newcastle Library guides

Note taking in lectures and tutorials: Before the Lecture or Tutorial

Get some great strategies and tips for taking notes in lectures and tutorials

Before the lecture or tutorial

Effective note taking starts well before the lecture begins.

By being prepared and having some understanding of the topic, you will be able to follow the lecture content more easily. This means not everything you hear will be new information, so you will also find taking notes easier.

  • Read the course outline to find the topic of the lecture and understand how it fits in with the other topics in the course.


           Course outline 

  • Check the Blackboard site for any announcements or updates that relate to the week's lecture topic. Sometimes lecturers will provide links to YouTube clips, podcasts or other resources that will help you understand the topic.
  • Complete prescribed readings from textbooks and other suggested readings. You don't have to read everything listed, but even if you only have time to skim and scan you will have more of an understanding about the lecture content.
  • Make a list of any new words and their meanings.
  • Download and print out the power point slides if they available before the lecture. You can print them out in formats that allow space for note taking.
  • Read the lecture power point slides, if they are available, and look at the structure of the lecture by noting the headings and how the main ideas are organised.



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