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Lecture Preparation

Preparing for lectures will save you time, so think about the background reading you could do that could inform the notes you take

5 things you need to know...

Evidence shows that those students who attend all lectures and actively engage are more successful than those who don't.

How should you prepare for lectures?

1. Familiarise yourself with your module handbooks.  These contain important information such as learning outcomes and assessment guidelines, which will help you to put lectures into context and target your note taking.  

2. Use Blackboard, where you can find the vital information and materials relating to your programme of study and modules.  

3. Develop your skills.  Read in advance of the lecture and create a list of possible questions you would like to be able to answer about the topic.  This will help you to focus in the lecture, participate more critically and deepen your understanding of the topic.  Be organised, and develop effective note taking skills.  

4. Adopt an active listening approach.  This will help you to deal with new and challenging information more effectively.  If you are questioning, selecting and summarising spoken information you will be actively involved in the lecture.  In order to do this effectively, preparation is key in order that you can begin to contextualise the information provided in the lecture and engage with it more fully (rather than try to simply absorb it like a sponge).  

5. Make connections with previous learning.  Where you read or hear new terminology relevant to the topic(s) you are studying, make a note of it, and as you identify key theorists and/or arguments record these too.  This will help you not only to make more sense of lectures and make more useful notes, but also help you to make critical links as you move forward.  

This type of preparation will save you time in the long run as well as help you to aim for higher marks, as it will help you to have a greater understanding of the subject.  

Need to know more...?

We have produced resources to help you to develop your skills in this area.  You will find a factsheet on this topic below, plus others you may find useful.  See also the Online and Books tabs above.  

Related factsheets

University of Reading (2016) Lectures and seminars.  (Accessed: 2 September 2019).

Need more advice?

You can also discuss your development of this skill with a member of the Academic Skills Team.

Make an appointment for an online discussion or email support  by using our online booking form.

Personalising your device and using assistive tools

There are many assistive technology tools which can help you choose how you want to access material and these can really improve your productivity.

The University has made some applications available on the student PCs within the library and IT Centres; others are free for you to download and use on your own devices (phone, tablet, laptop or computer) .  Find out more on our personalising standard software guide and our assistive tools and software guide.