A student’s five top tips to make the most of lectures and tutorials

Joining university can be daunting. School often provides full schedules and clear responsibilities, and it can be quite a shock to be faced with a handful of contact hours (and plenty of free time). Equally, it’s easy to get lost in the routine of everything as an existing student. With that in mind, I thought I’d share some tips that new and old students alike can use and come back to.

Ditch the laptop and rediscover handwritten notes 

There’s extensive research showing that students who take notes by hand significantly outperform those who type on laptops. As handwriting notes is slower than typing, the brain has to synthesise the content into shorter, more concise points. This increased level of processing makes the information easier to access later on, so memory of the content increases. Plus, it’s way easier to get distracted when social media is just a tab away…

Keep organised

It sounds obvious, but keep all of your subject notes in the same place, and in order. It’s a real help when it comes to revising the material. This is so much easier to do as you go through the semester, rather than waiting until it’s all out of control. Moreover, keeping a bullet journal is a fantastic way to keep track of essential readings and tutorial work.


Embrace how you learn – and revise – best

Jot down the content however you think will be most useful to you. I find that coloured pens and highlighters help me keep track of key points which have come up in a lecture, and to quickly flag up parts I haven’t understood.

Don’t rely on the lecture recordings 

Even though many lectures are recorded, it’s always best to turn up IRL. I find it way easier to concentrate, and you don’t risk a failed recording or tech error. Plus, many lectures are interactive, and being present is a great way to ask questions and get involved.

Keep on top of the essential readings and tutorial prep 

It’s admittedly not the most enjoyable part of uni, but the essential readings are essential for a reason. They give you a far better grasp of the topics covered in lectures, and are often a great segway into reading academic writing and engaging with your field. So, grab a coffee, get to the library, and get stuck in.