Tag Archives: engineering

Part Four: Lecture note writing for easy revision

When I was in year 10 we started getting told to buy revision guides for the GCSE exams, so it was no surprise when my physics teacher told us about the “best revision guide ever” with examples, practice calculations (with hints) and core facts laid out in a way that we would all understand. Our whole class wanted to order one of these revision guides thinking this would be a clean ticket to a good grade… and then our teacher said “well you can all have one for free”. At this point I thought, wait, where’s the catch??! The teacher then said to get one of these guides you have to take good notes because our notes would be the revision guide.

That really hit me. So simple but so very important! I still used the revision guides that you could buy but when you get to Uni you won’t have  those CGP revision guides you could get at G.C.S.E and A-level as unfortunately university courses are often too specific to the university for these sorts of things to be made. If you’re lucky and do a common course such as law or medicine there may be text book which might as well be a revision guide with practically everything you need to know for an exam in it. The other ideal situation is where a tutor bases the course on a particular text book however this isn’t often the case- at least in my course it isn’t!

This means that the notes you take and are (sometimes) given are your most important reference.

So how to make this “best revision guide ever”? Well let me show you some hints and tips that I wish I knew at the start of my 4 year course!

1)      Write neatly… or at least legibly. You’re not writing things down for writings sake! You will need to be able to read what you have written possibly months later so it helps if the notes you make in your lectures are legible.

a)       If you’re doing an arts or humanities course and are good at typing I suggest you bring a laptop into your lectures because tutors can talk very fast.

b)      If you’re doing a science/engineering based course and there are maths examples, try to make sure you get all the parts of the equations written down along with a topic title so you can look up the method later

2)      If the lecturer is showing you an example using a particular method, it may be wise to think how the method is applied to the example and write that down instead of the example itself. Let’s say he is showing you how to do long division. Rather than copying the question and the answer you write down pointers to how he did it- there is nothing more frustrating than looking at examples you understood in class but when you look back you can’t remember how it was done!!!

3)      Highlight key words and make sure they are spelled correctly! This enables you to pick out the important stuff when you are scanning over the notes later. Coloured pens and use of capitals are also good

4)      Keep them organised. Write the date on the top of each page you use and number the page at the bottom.  Do this for the notes or screenprints they give you too. Heaven forbid you drop your file full of notes, but should you do this, at least it will be straightforward to putting them back in the right order! Try to file your notes as soon as possible so you don’t lose an odd sheet.

5)      Mark points that you didn’t understand, missed or didn’t finish writing down. I’ve seen some peoples notes where the whole page is full of unfinished sentences and question marks with no reference to go back and ask about. Make sure you know what it was you didn’t get, and sort it out asap. Ask a friend, lecturer or tutor but don’t just leave it!

6)      Use a digital recorder. If you have one that can leave indexes all the better as it allows you to place a marker at a key point/ at a piece you missed or didn’t have time to write down during the lecture. If your recording device (eg an iphone) doesn’t allow markers then just write the time down in the margin at the point where you’re getting lost or think it’s good to have a listen to a key point again later.  Don’t forget to replay the recordings at the points you need to go back to and fill in extra info.

Well I hope these points are useful and you try them out! Last but not least… there is no point having the best revision guide ever if you don’t use it- so don’t forget to use your notes to revise from and review them regularly!!

Happy note-taking!

If this section has been useful to you, why not look at some of the others?

Series One: University

Part One: Going to university, what to pack?!
Part Two: Beating Homesickness and Fresher Blues- coping on your own
Part Three: Food for University
Part Four: Lecture note writing for easy revision
Part Five: University Organisation
Part Six: Dyslexia at University

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Part One: Going to university, what to pack?!

This is the first in the series about university life. I base what I write on my experiences of living in halls and private housing while I’ve been doing my engineering degree for the last 4 years. I hope they help! If you have any questions just pop them in the comments and I’ll get back to you. 🙂 

What to take the bare minimum.

Remember that the room/ storage you get given will probably be a lot less than you are used to at home so you are unlikely to have room for everything! Plus when you’re at uni you are likely to accumulate things- even if it’s just notes, so you will need to have room in the car/ suitcase to take them back home with you at the end of the year!

Kitchen
label your stuff that way no one claims your things thinking they are theirs because they didn’t see what Mum unpacked for them!!

  • mixing bowl
  • wooden or silicon spoon, potato masher, spaghetti scoop (great for stews and all types of pasta etc)
  • saucepan (I tend to use my saucepan as a frying pan too as I’m only cooking for 1!) It’s handy to have 2 saucepans one for sauce the other for rice/pasta/potatoes.
  • Baking tray and roasting dish
  • Measuring jug
  • Sharp knife- I have a small one with a sheath and a larger one
  • Chopping board
  • cutlery (2 sets of knife, fork, spoon & teaspoon as minimum and spare teaspoons- no idea where they go to!)
  • a couple of plates, bowls, glasses and mugs
  • storage Tupperware type boxes with lids
  • kitchen foil and plastic wrap
  • can opener and  vegetable peeler
  • dish spongers with a scrubber on the back and dish soap!

You may also need a kettle/ toaster- see what uni provides and try to get in contact with future housemates through facebook pages for your halls to see what others are bringing! You don’t want to end up with 5 toasters!!!

For store cupboard ingredients and basics see my post “Food for University”.

Clothes

Your choice here, but here are some things to remember:

Take lots and lots of underwear. Seriously! Uni laundrettes are expensive and have large drums so it will take you a while to get enough stuff to fill it! Have enough clothes so you can do a darks wash and a lights wash to save having white t-shirts etc go funny shades of blue and pink.

Going out stuff- I’d not really gone on a night out before and took nothing for this type of occasion. A couple of dresses and a pair of heels (ladies) or smarter jeans/ trousers and a couple of nice shirts (gentlemen) would do!

Practical things- a proper waterproof coat and umbrella never go amiss in the UK! Warm socks and wellies are also a good option! Also warm jumpers can be useful if you have bad heating in your halls/ lecture rooms.
Flipflops for the showers are a good idea as well and don’t forget your towel!!!!

Miscellaneous

Take a tin of roses chocolates, or tub of biscuits- so useful to make friends with people with as they knock on your door to say hello to their new flatmate!

  • Cereal bars- great for when you’re in a rush to get out of the door!
  • Pens and paper. I have no idea why people forget these as I’m sure everyone knows you go to university to study and at some point these items will be useful?? Don’t forget these as it’s annoying to have just met someone on the first day of your course and already they are leaching off you for stationary!
     Having a diary is useful too as you will suddenly have a lot of dates times and places to remember as well as deadlines. I’m currently using a Filofax which I LOVE (see my posts on using a Filofax at uni) but I one had a Palgrave Student Planner which was fabulous.
  • If you have a bike take a motorcycle lock not a d-lock; d-locks are easy to take off even though they (university security/ police) normally recommend them! I’d also recommend a laptop lock. Great for keeping it safe in your room, but also for when you need a toilet break in the library!
  • Things to make your place a little homely- photos, posters (if your allowed), pot plant, your musical instrument etc.
  • Finally a bit of a random one… toilet paper. You do not want to arrive and have none of this handy as most local supermarkets will have sold out as all students seem to arrive with none!

What not to take… for example, expensive kitchen stuff- your new housemates will probably not respect it how you would like- it may get taken or broken. If you do have expensive stuff make sure you wash it up straight away and take it back to your room.

I also wouldn’t take expensive jewellery or things that have a large sentimental value to you for the same reason. Even if you do get some insurance with your room it probably won’t cover things like this.  Check to see what your parents household insurance covers- sometimes you can be lucky and it will cover your mobile phone etc.

Hope you find these pointers useful, have fun packing and I hope you check out some of the other parts in the series below as they become live!

Series One: University

Part One: Going to university, what to pack?!
Part Two: Beating Homesickness and Fresher Blues- coping on your own
Part Three: Food for University
Part Four: Lecture note writing for easy revision
Part Five: University Organisation
Part Six: Dyslexia at University

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