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Thread: How to effectively study for uni?

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    Cadet 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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    Re: How to effectively study for uni?

    I agree with the OP, would be good to know!
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    2016 HSC

    Advanced English (89) | Business Studies (92) | Legal Studies (94) | History Extension (47) | Ancient History (92) | Modern History (92)

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    Bachelor of Communication (Social and Political Sciences), Bachelor of Laws @ UTS

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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.

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts II, USYD

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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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    Member sida1049's Avatar
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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.
    theglove and shona99 like this.

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