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Thread: How to effectively study for uni?

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    Junior Member chickencoop's Avatar
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    How to effectively study for uni?

    Recently i have had a taste for uni life by attending a few lectures and tutorials for a bridging course. I noticed a few things from my experience;

    I seem to have trouble keeping up with the lecturer. I take down notes by hand (personal preference), and try to write as much as possible before losing track of what the lecturer has said. Consequently, i went home and reviewed the entire recorded lecture and made some more notes with more clarity on what i was writing and reading.

    Problem with this was that the whole reviewing process and re-taking of notes ate up a lot of my time at home, and i since this lecture was only for 1 subject - im failing to see how i will be able to keep up with 5 days of lectures/tuts in an array of subjects.

    Going by my process of retaking notes at home and rewatching the lectures after uni, i would say that an avg of 2 hours is taken away from home-time per subject.

    I take mainly science based subjects and although i cant complain in comparison to HSIE based electives, how do uni students study and listen in class effectively - is it similar to my way; attending and taking notes during the lecture, and then coming home to take some more, or do you just not attend lectures at all to purely study at home?

    Can i get some opinions from high achieving uni students on how they study and take notes?
    Last edited by chickencoop; 8 Feb 2017 at 10:48 PM.
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    Cadet Son of Thatcher's Avatar
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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    I agree with the OP, would be good to know!
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    Member sida1049's Avatar
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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    Relax.

    I've never taken any bridging courses, but I suspect that they may be even more fast paced than some uni courses, because they rush to get through a dense amount of content in a small window of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by chickencoop View Post
    I seem to have trouble keeping up with the lecturer. I take down notes by hand (personal preference), and try to write as much as possible before losing track of what the lecturer has said. Consequently, i went home and reviewed the entire recorded lecture and made some more notes with more clarity on what i was writing and reading.
    Me too! I always take notes by hand, and it's a preference that's very unlikely to ever go away.

    And yes, sometimes that happens; we're too busy taking notes that we cease paying attention to the lecturer completely, and end up getting lost. I recommend to take notes more sparingly than the amount you currently are. Not everything on the lecture slide (or the lecture that they're giving) needs to be taken down for you to understand, nor even necessarily relevant. You do need to pay attention to the lecturer, because it helps with understanding, which in turn helps with memorisation. Don't try to write down everything on the lecture slides or whatever, because there are some lecturers who write paragraphs and paragraphs of detail in each slide, and you won't even know where to start writing. So write notes if necessary, but choose what to write consciously, and keep them terse and brief, and don't let it distract you too much from the lecturer (you'll have to find your own balance).

    Quote Originally Posted by chickencoop View Post
    Problem with this was that the whole reviewing process and re-taking of notes ate up a lot of my time at home, and i since this lecture was only for 1 subject - im failing to see how i will be able to keep up with 5 days of lectures/tuts in an array of subjects.
    Remember: the pace of a bridging course is often faster than a lot of first-year courses. Bridging courses attempt to cover preliminary and HSC content in a few weeks, while semesterly courses have content spread across 13 weeks.

    Quote Originally Posted by chickencoop View Post
    Going by my process of retaking notes at home and rewatching the lectures after uni, i would say that an avg of 2 hours is taken away from home-time per subject.
    I personally wouldn't recommend rewatching lectures unless if you are absolutely lost. Don't worry about it too much. Do they give you homework? Because attempting your homework, finding the gaps in your knowledge and then trying to rewatch parts of a lecture or Google or referring to notes/textbook is much more efficient than reviewing an entire lecture.

    Quote Originally Posted by chickencoop View Post
    I take mainly science based subjects and although i cant complain in comparison to HSIE based electives, how do uni students study and listen in class effectively - is it similar to my way; attending and taking notes during the lecture, and then coming home to take some more, or do you just not attend lectures at all to purely study at home?
    Honestly, for a lot of people (including myself), the most effective way is to just listen as much as possible, and take notes if needed (sometimes we take notes just to pay attention). The ratio of attention to lecturer and notes vary from lecture to lecture. There isn't really a "correct" method. I know people who sit in maths lectures and just listen the entire time and still do well, and I know people who spend more than 70-80% of the time taking notes and perform well. It'll take some adjusting for every course you do. But have faith.

    Quote Originally Posted by chickencoop View Post
    Can i get some opinions from high achieving uni students on how they study and take notes?
    I do not recommend not attending lectures and purely relying on the recordings, unless if you have a good reason to (e.g. working). A lot of people do this, but I can't say it's very advantageous. Students who attend lectures generally perform higher. I have friends who ended up not attending lectures on the day to "catch up" on previously missed lectures, which had led to them skipping all of the remaining lectures. Uni is a pain to travel to for a lot of people, but I think it's very much worth it.

    There is not really any secret to dealing with the pace of uni lectures; just listen as much as possible, and take notes if necessary. For many courses, the lecturers upload lecture slides (or scan their handwritten notes, in the case of maths-based courses), so some people avoid taking notes completely and just read lecture slides (some lecturers even upload the notes/slides prior to the lecture so students can bring them), but I personally prefer handwriting notes anyway (nor do I bring any devices to help me).

    If there's something you don't understand from the lecture, try to refer to your notes and the lecture slides. If that fails, try Google or the textbook, if you have it. Re-watching the lecture recording should be a last resort, since it's rather inefficient.

    Good luck! I'm sure your experience in your units during the semester will be more accommodating than your current bridging course.
    Last edited by sida1049; 8 Feb 2017 at 11:32 PM.

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    Junior Member chickencoop's Avatar
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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    Quote Originally Posted by sida1049 View Post
    Relax.

    I've never taken any bridging courses, but I suspect that they may be even more fast paced than some uni courses, because they rush to get through a dense amount of content in a small amount of time.



    Me too! I always take notes by hand, and it's a preference that's very unlikely to ever go away.

    And yes, sometimes that happens; we're too busy taking notes that we cease paying attention to the lecturer completely, and end up getting lost. I recommend to take notes more sparingly than the amount you currently are. You do need to pay attention to the lecturer, because it helps with understanding, which in turn helps with memorisation. Don't try to write down everything on the lecture slides or whatever, because there are some lecturers who write paragraphs and paragraphs of detail in each slide, and you won't even know where to start writing. So write notes if necessary, but keep them terse and brief, and don't let it distract you too much from the lecturer (you'll have to find your own balance).



    Remember: the pace of a bridging course is often faster than a lot of first-year courses. Bridging courses attempt to cover preliminary and HSC content in a few weeks, while semesterly courses have content spread across 13 weeks.



    I personally wouldn't recommend rewatching lectures unless if you are absolutely lost. Don't worry about it too much. Do they give you homework? Because attempting your homework, finding the gaps in your knowledge and then trying to rewatch parts of a lecture or Google or referring to notes/textbook is much more efficient than reviewing an entire lecture.



    Honestly, for a lot of people (including myself), the most effective way is to just listen as much as possible, and take notes if needed. The ratio of attention to lecturer and notes vary from lecture to lecture. There isn't really a "correct" method. I know people who sit in maths lectures and just listen the entire time and still do well, and I know people who spend more than 70-80% of the time taking notes and perform well. It'll take some adjusting for every course you do. But have faith.



    I do not recommend not attending lectures and purely relying on the recordings, unless if you have a good reason to (e.g. working). A lot of people do this, but I can't say it's very advantageous. Students who attend lectures generally perform higher. I have friends who ended up not attending lectures on the day to "catch up" on previously missed lectures, which had led to them skipping all of the remaining lectures. Uni is a pain to travel to for a lot of people, but I think it's very much worth it.

    There is not really any secret to dealing with the pace of uni lectures; just listen as much as possible, and take notes if necessary. For many courses, the lecturers upload lecture slides (or scan their handwritten notes, in the case of maths-based courses), so some people avoid taking notes completely and just read lecture slides (some lecturers even upload the notes/slides prior to the lecture so students can bring them), but I personally prefer handwriting notes anyway (nor do I bring any devices to help me).

    If there's something you don't understand from the lecture, try to refer to your notes and the lecture slides. If that fails, try Google or the textbook, if you have it. Re-watching the lecture recording should be a last resort, since it's rather inefficient.

    Good luck! I'm sure your experience in your units during the semester will be more accommodating than your current bridging course.
    Thanks for the quick reply Sida!

    +1 for all those that opt for handwritten notes over devices!! woo!!

    As for my bridging course, i feel like they arent covering too much content (this may be relative as ive been exposed to a lot stressful work environments), and no they do not give out homework.

    The only thing i am concerned with is how much different lectures are from what i am used to at school... Lecturers literally do not stop speaking so the possibility of asking a question or taking a break just to regather your thoughts and knowledge is futile. Even though what i am describing is better suited in a tutorial, i still feel like that lectures are where the majority of the information is given out (or more frankly; hurled at you), and since most of our uni lectures will be touching upon new areas, almost every second sentence is something worth taking down (not even taking into account how some concepts may take a bit of time for you to grasp).

    I will definitely be attending every lecture that i am assigned, but if i may ask, what do you do at home in regards to uni studies? do you just review over your scribbled and sometimes ambiguous notes, or take some more notes and hope the previous content refreshes along the way?

    Thanks!

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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    Quote Originally Posted by chickencoop View Post
    Thanks for the quick reply Sida!

    +1 for all those that opt for handwritten notes over devices!! woo!!

    As for my bridging course, i feel like they arent covering too much content (this may be relative as ive been exposed to a lot stressful work environments), and no they do not give out homework.

    The only thing i am concerned with is how much different lectures are from what i am used to at school... Lecturers literally do not stop speaking so the possibility of asking a question or taking a break just to regather your thoughts and knowledge is futile. Even though what i am describing is better suited in a tutorial, i still feel like that lectures are where the majority of the information is given out (or more frankly; hurled at you), and since most of our uni lectures will be touching upon new areas, almost every second sentence is something worth taking down (not even taking into account how some concepts may take a bit of time for you to grasp).
    No problem!

    Yeah, at times lectures can be quite intimidating, but you get used to them fairly quickly, and I've learned to enjoy them early on.

    If they had given you homework for the bridging course, that would have helped you to distinguish between the relative importance of the concepts they introduce to you in lectures.

    Quote Originally Posted by chickencoop View Post
    I will definitely be attending every lecture that i am assigned, but if i may ask, what do you do at home in regards to uni studies? do you just review over your scribbled and sometimes ambiguous notes, or take some more notes and hope the previous content refreshes along the way
    In the descending order of priority:

    1. Do homework. Since I do maths, stats and economics, this involves doing tutorial exercises (ahead of time, and to pick up from where I left off from the relevant tutorial). This is important because it really helps to reinforce your knowledge, help you in identifying what you're lacking, which in turn helps you with making notes.

    2. Assignments. I tend to start and finish assignments way ahead of time, so it's not too high of a priority.

    3. Generally at home, I don't work on the notes I've made at uni unless if I'm missing information, or found the content difficult to grasp. However, when there or quizzes and exams coming up, I start working on a more polished (handwritten ) set of notes at least a week or two prior, which I use to study off of (aside from doing practice papers, that is). Those finalised set of notes are usually completed during the last week of lectures (week 13), since they are written progressively during the semester.

    4. Some of the units have course notes, textbooks or readings (the latter particularly in humanity courses), thus I spend some time reading the content ahead of the coming week during the weekend. This is by no means necessary; many students don't even bother to do it. It's up to you how to tackle this, but I found that reading ahead makes lectures a lot more comfortable. (Though there will be times when you simply don't have the time to do this. And that's perfectly fine as well.)
    Last edited by sida1049; 9 Feb 2017 at 12:00 AM.
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    Junior Member chickencoop's Avatar
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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    If you're handwriting, print out lecture slides and write on them/annotate

    Or better alternative, type up your notes. With adequate typing speed you might even be able to capture everything the lecturer says - and you can write it up in a document or OneNote so you can refer to it when you are going through the slides for revision (don't type up the lecture slides unless you have time).

    To give an idea, in my 1 hour lectures I've experienced typing up like 8-9 word document pages of notes. (although content is a bit more dense in health/science lectures) and that's how I keep up

    Also: it's only going to get worse. Handwriting notes works for high school. Maybe for the start of uni like first/2nd year? but eventually there's going to be just so much content that it is difficult [NOT IMPOSSIBLE] to keep up (since you type much faster than you hand write). Just some food for thought
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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    Quote Originally Posted by iStudent View Post
    If you're handwriting, print out lecture slides and write on them/annotate

    Or better alternative, type up your notes. With adequate typing speed you might even be able to capture everything the lecturer says - and you can write it up in a document or OneNote so you can refer to it when you are going through the slides for revision (don't type up the lecture slides unless you have time).

    To give an idea, in my 1 hour lectures I've experienced typing up like 8-9 word document pages of notes. (although content is a bit more dense in health/science lectures) and that's how I keep up

    Also: it's only going to get worse. Handwriting notes works for high school. Maybe for the start of uni like first/2nd year? but eventually there's going to be just so much content that it is difficult [NOT IMPOSSIBLE] to keep up (since you type much faster than you hand write). Just some food for thought
    This is what I have a dilemma with right now. Sure, handwriting is probably more memorable and better for learning, but I can't write fast nor neat enough to aptly keep up with a lecture. With at least half of my commerce units beginning to show use of math and graphs, it becomes harder to consider using a computer (maybe just keep one handy, and transfer it when reviewing notes).

    Originally I planned to write then type as a form of revision. Copying slides is meaningless as you can refer to them on student portal especially if they use the exact same ones. However I saw a student copy the slides ahead of time, leaving space for optional notes that the lecturer might mention - good, but time consuming and I'm probably too impatient to do this and half-ass it throughout the session. This can alternate to printing out slides - time consuming, but good if you want your hand held, and probably less beneficial than copying them (as you don't go through the content as well).

    I'm thinking to probably do notepads for when math problems appear esp. in subjects like Finance, Econ, Accounting, and just use my laptop for typing.

    Need to decide quickly and create a system early.

    Q: Did you copy the slide contents?
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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    This is why I watch recordings, much more advantageous to pause, rewind and change the speed of the lecture and to take notes. This is how I've done well, but obviously, people who skip lectures don't end up watching them, but I discipline myself to do so.

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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    Oh and ur not distracted by dumb cunts who think it's a good idea to talk during lectures

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    s-f
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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    From my experience (not to brag but as a HD science student), you'll probably quickly get used to it but depends on lecture
    Maths --> copy board
    Non-maths sci --> write notes if and only if slides provided are missing some rather pertinent info

    Then the decision there as to whether to take notes atlecture or at home while rewatching comes down to how complex the lectures are.

    If you think you already have good grasp and can easily write all down in that initial lecture - do that.
    If need time to absorb or lecturer saying so many useful things not on slides --> rewatch at home (I recommend x1.7 speed).

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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    Quote Originally Posted by s-f View Post
    From my experience (not to brag but as a HD science student), you'll probably quickly get used to it but depends on lecture
    Maths --> copy board
    Non-maths sci --> write notes if and only if slides provided are missing some rather pertinent info

    Then the decision there as to whether to take notes atlecture or at home while rewatching comes down to how complex the lectures are.

    If you think you already have good grasp and can easily write all down in that initial lecture - do that.
    If need time to absorb or lecturer saying so many useful things not on slides --> rewatch at home (I recommend x1.7 speed).
    I think it's a bit different for these years as a lot more students are beginning to use laptops i.e. potentially more effective study methods. When did you graduate?
    Bachelor of Applied Finance and Bachelor of Commerce (Professional Accounting) at MQ.

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    Junior Member chickencoop's Avatar
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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProdigyInspired View Post
    This is what I have a dilemma with right now. Sure, handwriting is probably more memorable and better for learning, but I can't write fast nor neat enough to aptly keep up with a lecture. With at least half of my commerce units beginning to show use of math and graphs, it becomes harder to consider using a computer (maybe just keep one handy, and transfer it when reviewing notes).
    I'm essentially in the same dilemma as prodigy. I know from experience that i retain information best when handwriting notes - but then comes the issue of: Can i keep up with the lecture speed/info. I think what i may do is print out lecture slides before the lecture and try and review them and then take notes based off what is not on the lecture slides.

    Personally i want to distant myself from typing up notes (UNLESS I ABSOLUTELY DUPELY CANNOT KEEP UP) but i guess ill see how it goes.. I wish there was a guide telling you what type of note taking is most beneficial for what subjects/what type of student
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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProdigyInspired View Post
    I think it's a bit different for these years as a lot more students are beginning to use laptops i.e. potentially more effective study methods. When did you graduate?
    Sorry, I probably wasn't too clear with what I meant. I've graduated science in 2012 (but still studying postgrad on top of work).

    I meant by taking notes:
    - Maths = handwrite on a dedicated notebook unless you are a latex master and can keep up with lecturer's speed with typing maths;
    - Non-maths = add notes to slides as required, with whichever method you prefer (sticky notes, writing on slides, appending notes to slides, etc).

    I myself prefer using electronic methods whenever possible cause of less mess with keeping a massive paperload with you and you can essentially keep those notes forever and refer back to them when you reckon you need a refresher.

    Also, you can append useful weblinks or images to your notes from online quite easily if electronic.
    Last edited by s-f; 4 Mar 2017 at 5:37 PM.
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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    Im in my 2nd year and this year I try to not write much at all. This time I try to understand as much as possible at that time.
    And there are times in the lecture (Especially at the last 30minutes in the 2 hour lecture) where the information starts to get harder to understand (It could also be how the lecturer is running out of time) I try to just follow what they are saying (Even if I dont write anything) and just try not to get lost.

    Also the main things I write are:
    - When the lecture says something like "This is going to be in your exam......" or "This is important".
    - Stuff that I might not find/understand by searching on the internet.
    - Information that aren't clear/ is not directly on the slides
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