Tag Archives: University

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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Filofax

I kinda wanted a filofax for ages. They seemed like the ultimate organiser where you could mix up normal diary pages with notes and list pages without them all falling out on the floor if you held it the wrong way. But they are SO expensive and seemed a little too business like for me. Way out of my league.

So I made a diary with notes, to-dos and menu planners for each week and got it bound so the pages didnt fall out, but it just wasnt flexible enough for my needs as one week I might have loads of notes, but not really ‘to-do’s’ and might only be at uni for 4 days in that week so a menu planner wasnt useful.

So I took the plunge and bought a personal sized finsbury filofax in a lovely yellow. Digger yellow as I like to call it.

I bought it off amazon for a much reduced price (so felt I could justify it!).

I havent really done anything to it yet, as I haven’t got  a holepunch for it, but I did stick this little puffy crocodile on the front plastic page.

 

I did make these month dividers from an A4 pack, and bought these zip wallets to hold things like post it notes and paperclips.

Hopefully when I get around to buying a hole punch I will be able to add in the lists I have made on the computer! will be much more functional and it’s much cheaper to make your own rather than buy branded ones. Plus I can make them on coloured paper so I can colour code things! I look forward to updating you on my planner as it progresses!

 

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Post. Autumn brings good things….I hope!

I really aught to actually post the posts I write at the time they were written; normally they are relevant to a particular time and loose their meaning after that. I’ve missed out on about 6 or 7 posts so far because of this.

So far Uni this year actually hasn’t been too bad. I’m quite surprised  May of my friends are really struggling however as they have dissertations to do, which is something I’m lucky enough not to have to do until next year. I’m trying to learn of them so I have a better idea of time management for my project next year.

The only project I have (and the only piece of work to do other than studying for a test in a couple of weeks) is a group project and we haven’t really started yet. Slightly worrying as its now at the beginning of the 8th week of term out of a possible 11! Not very much I can do about that now though. 

I’m hoping that for the start of January ,when my current homemade diary runs out, I’m going to start using a filofax. I’ve got my eye on a yellow finsbury in the personal size. I wanted a yellow one and I wanted a zip (so it can double up as a purse). Problem is it is soooo expensive! I’ve seen some on Amazon for about 25% off RRP, but even so I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than £8 on a planner! I think I’m going to sleep on the idea for a few nights! I do like how customisable they are though.

In other news I’ve been lapping up every chance to enjoy autumn that I can before the miserable British winter starts. I’ve watched countless firework displays from my halls window, baked pumpkin shaped gingerbread cookies, dressed up for Halloween  created a autumnal window display in my halls window and  across my desk. I’ve kicked up the bright yellow, red, orange and brown dry leaves on my way to uni each day and started my preparation for a good Christmas.

Mainly this involves getting bits and bobs together to make Christmas presents (I’m an advocate of the more handmade the better), and buying the odd gift. But yesterday my mum and sister came up to Birmingham and together we watched a short but sweet Christmas parade and the switching on of the Christmas lights. 

I’m all for enjoying autumn for autumn but I also relish getting ready for holidays in advanced. I’m not talking about putting up the xmas decorations in august (I really hate that), but I do like the anticipation of good things to come.

Talking of good things to come (time for crossing every finger!), there might be a big move in my world towards being a “growned up” as I used to call it. I don’t want to jinx the process by exactly saying what it is, but I should be able to spill the beans in early December. Funnily enough my sister got a fortune cookie yesterday, (our family has a tendency to believe in such things after I got one that said there was to be a new addition to the family, and a week or so later we found out that I was going to have a sister!) which read “A half-solved problem will be entirely solved next month”. So let’s see if it comes true again!

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Moving forward.

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually post anything to this blog. Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I haven’t wanted to it’s just that there’s been a lot of things getting my way. I have written a few blog posts I just haven’t actually posted any of them, as I either wrote them where I didn’t have internet connection or I wanted to go back and edit them.

This year I’ve had more than my fair share of life experiences.

I’ve moved from my childhood home in the English Lake District in the middle of my end of year exams, gone through huge medical problems with a close friend (which nearly killed both of us with the effort we had to put in to get where we are now!), and then had to move house again  (which involved a lot of complications, disappointment and frustration).

I’ve also been doing a summer placement which had it’s own frustrations, but I’m glad to say that I finished that yesterday.

This month for me is all about trying to sort myself out, pick myself up and get ready for the coming academic year. Given the way the last year turned out, I need to be as prepared as possible for the next one!!

I’ve got a number of things I want to achieve before I go back to uni later this month, and I hope to share some of these things with you as I go along now I have a bit more time.

here’s a mini list of some of the things I hope to do:

  • firstly I want to finish a diary I’ve been making- a printable. If you guys like it, I might post the second 3 month instalment in December ready for the new year. I’m really excited about this one!
  • unpack in my new flat and decorate my dorm room- I’ll post about my room sometime 🙂
  • do some baking! I haven’t been able to do any in ages due to moving house and not having a proper kitchen to work in, so a good cookie and brownie making session is in order!
  • practice handwriting- mines got pretty sloppy while at uni so I need to get ‘back to school’ on this one!
  • most importantly remember to actually get around to posting on my blog! I hope to at least once a week this month, but I also post on instagram pretty much everyday, I’m @zoerawr should you like to follow my feed!

Big hugs to anyone else who’s had a hard year this year, hoping this month will be better for you also!

See you soon

xx

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I shouldn’t really be blogging right now, but…

I’ve been wanting to blog for so long now, but I’ve been so busy I really haven’t had time! To be honest I don’t have time to blog now either, but I thought I really better say something! Funny thing is that although I’ve been really busy I haven’t really got anything to say as it’s all uni work basically!

However, I do have a little bit of news- I got a pet goldfish at the weekend! Okay, it’s not the most exotic of pets, and not really the most interesting but I really like it! I’ve called it Apricot and it lives in the tank with my sister’s fish (no name yet) at home in the lakes. Couldn’t really bring it to uni as it’s unfair making it travel so much!

I also went to the cinema at the weekend with my boyfriend, his brother, and his brother’s best friend. We saw True Grit. Fantastic cowboy film, although I’ve never seen the one with John Wayne in it. I really enjoyed the film, but I did find it rather hard to understand the thick American accent! They spoke very fast using old fashioned words which made it very hard to follow at times! Not really a film you go and see to relax as you had to listen hard!

The rest of the time I’ve been the boring kind of busy- just doing uni work! I’ve had an extortionate amount though! We have 4 assignments due before the Easter holidays (which start on 1st April) and 2 exams before then too. The we have 3 assignments due straight after the Easter break, but you need to use uni software to do them, or at least need help from tutors to do them, so they have to be done before Easter too! So that’s 9 assignments/ exams in the next 2 weeks, and there isn’t a single piece of work even nearly half done! I’ve been trying to prioritise things but that’s mostly impossible as a lot of them are due all in the same week (3 pieces on the same day!).  I’m going to see my tutor see what he thinks is the best Modus operandi.  I’m not sure that extensions to deadlines will work what with needing tutors help to do the work, and they wont be available over Easter anyway! I guess I shall have to do my best, keep plodding on and hope that that is okay!

Must go and do some work now (or at least make a list of things to do when I have the computer software that I need (only available in the computer room at uni)! night!

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QuickPress- Snow!

It’s snowing loads again today, it wasnt supposed to though, not according to the weather forcasts. 😛 Best of all it’s propper snow, like feathers falling from heaven that is sorta wet so you can actually make good snowballs and snowmen out of it. When I was younger I used to say it was “god plucking his christmas chicken” haha.

I’ve been out in the snow already and taken a few pictures, but my memory card filled up very quickly becuase I already had about 1000 photos on it already(family holiday and christmas)! Maybe I should have invested in another memory card but I couldnt ever see me filling it when I got it- 4GB seemed an awful lot of space!
Anyway I downloaded the new photos and then deleted all the pictures on the card so that I have a clean card to work with :).

That cat always runs towards me when I attempt to take a photo of her… although it’s very cute its also really annoying!

I’ve got a fair bit to do today to get ready for going back to Birmingham on Saturday. Today I want to order my petticoat for my party dress and some magnetic craft strip off Ebay, I want to write my thank you letters from my birthday… and christmas *cringe*. I know I should have written them ages ago. 😦 Also I want to start packing, or at least sorting out what stuff I want to take back down to Brum.

Right I think that’s all for now. ciao 🙂

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