Enhancing Your Pre-Med GPA: Lectures and Notes
January 20, 2017
When it comes to earning good grades in any course, you cannot underestimate the power of your attitude. A positive attitude, intrinsic motivation, and a genuine interest in learning all significantly improve your in-class performance. So, before you set foot in a classroom, ask yourself, “Why am I taking this course?,” and “What value do I expect from this class?” Your answers to these questions will have a great impact on your learning experience during lectures as well as the quality of information found in your notes.
Making the Most of Your Time in Lecture
Unless there is a student “note-taking” club for your courses, your class attendance record and the quality of your notes should both be as excellent as possible. Find the area of the classroom where you can best hear the professor, see what he or she is writing, and also be seen raising your hand to ask a question. This location is usually towards the front of the room. And whenever possible, do not sit close to your friends or significant other!
Before lecture begins, instead of chatting with classmates, spend those few idle moments reviewing that course’s previous lecture to give you an idea of what to expect in class that day. Although it may sound difficult, try to take good notes and pay close attention to what the professor is saying and indicating. Don’t worry, with practice you can learn to do this quite efficiently.
Overall, do not allow a professor’s quality of teaching to affect your interest in a particular course let alone your grade. Do not waste time before, during, or after lectures complaining about how the professor speaks too quickly, does not explain concepts adequately, etc. Use that time to ask the professor questions or study. You will have adequate time to mention those issues later on evaluation forms! After all, despite the good or poor quality of teaching, there is always a certain number of students who still perform well. So, you must strive to count yourself among those students.
Taking the Time to Make Time-Saving Notes
Unless your professor says otherwise, if you take excellent notes and learn them forwards and backwards, you will do very well in the course. But taking excellent notes takes time, as you should write one set of notes in class and copy them over neatly outside of class. Make sure your notes are up-to-date, complete, and separate from your other courses. Try to write everything especially any topics the professor emphasizes. If you miss anything, fill in the gaps by comparing your notes with your classmates.
When rewriting your notes, create your own shorthand symbols and acronyms. If possible, employ mnemonics to help you memorize the information. Pay close attention to what you are writing. If there is something you don’t completely understand, jot down that question to ask your professor during the next class meeting. Some students also find it helpful to use different color pens or highlighters to make certain ideas or vocabulary words stand out in their notes.
Keep in mind that the more time you devote to note-taking in and out of class, the more study time it will save you. Think about how much time it would take to read multiple chapters in the textbook then sort through disorganized lecture notes. Now, compare that to the amount of time it would take to read through organized, re-written notes multiple times. So, spare yourself that unnecessary stress and watch your GPA soar!