College Learning : WAYS & WHYS

Frank A. Logan

Learning from Lectures

The purpose of this chapter is to discuss ways to maximize learning in the CLASSROOM.

You should learn

  1. That listening is an effortful response.
  2. The importance of being prepared.
  3. How to be mentally active in class.
  4. Why you should rewrite and reduce your lecture notes.
  5. The importance of review and recitation.
  6. When learning may be consolidated.
     There are very good reasons to learn how to learn from lectures.  
Most professors are, at least to some extent, egocentric.  What this 
implies is that they  tend to consider the information given during class 
to be more important than that in the text or other sources.  Furthermore, 
most professors want to reward  the students who attend class regularly by 
asking questions that can only be answered from information  given in 
lecture.  For both of these reasons, exams  usually lean heavily toward 
lecture material. 

     Many educational theorists are critical of the lecture method of 
teaching.  They generally consider a one-on-one tutorial arrangement 
ideal, and a large 
lecture class is diametrically opposite.  The critic's image of a lecture 
was captured in a cartoon showing, on one side, the podium with the 
lecture being given by a tape recorder rather than by the professor in 
person, and on the other side, the lecture being  recorded on tape instead 
of by the students in person.  Insofar as that is an accurate image of a 
real lecture class, it would indeed be an inferior method. 

      However, a good lecturer does not rigidly follow a script but 
instead continually reacts to feedback from the class, sometimes slowing 
down to repeat a point, sometimes digressing from the main theme to give 
the class a mental rest, and frequently referring to current events of 
interest to the class.  For their part, good students do not attempt to 
record everything the lecturer says but instead engage in what we called 
divided selective attention.  A lecture should require hard mental effort 
from everyone.  Just like your body,  your mind gets tired from doing hard 
work. Hence, one of the ways you can know whether you have been doing your 
job is to ask whether you feel
mentally exhausted after listening to a lecture.  If so, you have earned a 
     How does one improve his or her skills at learning from lectures?  It 
is tempting to say that all one needs is practice, that proficiency will 
come naturally with experience.  However, the Principle of Contiguity 
implies that practice only perpetuates whatever behavior is practiced, 
which means that one
can only learn better skills by trying them out.  The purpose of this 
chapter is to describe some steps in learning from lectures that I can 
     In doing so, however, I would emphasize again that the optimal 
learning strategy is to some extent idiosyncratic.  We each have our 
personal style based
on our unique composite of learning experiences.  Hence, my real purpose 
is to encourage you to try out various alternative learning strategies in 
order to discover the one that is best for you.  It may turn
out that your current method is best, but even so, you
will have benefited from trying out different

	My recommended learning strategy requires ten steps.  As usual, I 
will tell you why I think each step is important.  You probably already 
know many of
these ideas, but it is better to repeat them than to leave the picture 

Learning from Lectures Step 1:  READ.  The Scout motto, "Be Prepared," 
applies to students attending a lecture.  Professors vary a great deal in 
how closely 
their lectures follow the text readings, but most professors presume that 
the students have at least read the assignment before class.  Hence, the 
steps in getting the most out of lectures begin well before the lecture 
itself: Read the Text.

One reason that preparation is important in learning from lectures is to 
get past the awkward phase of being introduced to new ideas and concepts.  
Meeting a concept is something like meeting a blind date in that there are 
a number of superficial things to learn before you begin to find out what 
it really 
means.  How a word is spelled, how it is pronounced, and how it is used in 
sentences are all tangential to understanding its meaning.  A lecture is 
very much easier to follow if you are already acquainted with the 

     There are other reasons to prepare for a lecture by reading the 
assignment in advance.  It may lead you to ask helpful questions in class, 
especially if the professor appears to say something that differs from the 
text.  It may give you a general framework with which to organize the 
lecture, especially if the
professor tends to ramble.  It may also reduce your note-taking activity 
because you do not need to copy definitions and graphs that you know are 
in the text. 
The point is that lectures and texts are reciprocal learning aids.  First, 
read the text to prepare yourself for the lecture, and then attend the 
lecture to prepare yourself for studying the text. 

     Learning from Lectures Step 2:  READY.   One way in which your mind 
is like a muscle is that your mind needs to "warm-up" before engaging in 
hard work.  But 
warming up your mind is not quite the same as warming up your body because 
you need to set your mind for a particular subject.  Engaging in a 
discussion on 
financial affairs does not prepare your mind for a lecture in Chemistry.  
Warming up your mind is called "priming," and involves recalling old 
knowledge about  a subject in preparation for adding new knowledge.

     You can think of knowledge that is stored in your memory as being in 
a dormant state, available but inactive.  Whenever you think about 
something, you
activate those ideas into consciousness and also activate associated ideas 
into a near-conscious state. They do not revert directly to the dormant 
state but
instead they gradually fade.  Ideas that have recently been activated are 
easier to recall than ones that have been idle for a long time. It is less 
work to process a lecture if you have primed your mind by reviewing 
related ideas.

      It is easy to get the basic idea of priming. Read each of the 
following words slowly, thinking briefly about their meaning to you:  Now I would be very surprised if the 
word "bank" in the preceding list led you to think of the bank of a river.  
Having primed your mind with ideas related to fiscal matters, you are most 
likely to think along the same lines when new ideas are introduced.  It is 
for this reason, by the way, that many people are concerned about violence 
T.V., ads for alcohol, pornography, etc.  If you prime your mind with sexy 
thoughts you will likely think of sexual interpretations of neutral 

       My strong recommendation is that you arrange your schedule so that 
you can arrive at class a few minutes before the scheduled start of a 
lecture and
prime your mind by reviewing your lecture notes from the last class.  
There may not be close continuity from one lecture to the next, but the 
important thing
is to get your thoughts directed toward the relevant subject matter.  Your 
mind will then be ready to start processing the new ideas you hear during 
the lecture.

6.3.1                                6.3.2                                
A father who asks a man to           A divorce based on incompatibility  
clarify his intentions wants him     means that the couple                
a. to change plans                   a. found someone else             
b. to remove doubt                   b. can't coexist                 
c. to begin in earnest               c. like different things          
d. to repeat himself                 d. don't have children            
6.3.3                                6.3.4                                
Make up an original sentence         A solar hot water system is          
using each of these words            passive if it                       
coherent    subsidiary               a. is simply acted upon          
feasible    succinct                 b. produces enough               
peripheral  superficial              c. requires little care          
proscribe   terminology              d. uses electricity              

6.3.5                                6.3.6                                
True or False?                       True or False?                       
It is the lecturer's fault if        It doesn't take much mental       
you are listening to the lecture     capacity to write notes if you're    
and don't understand it.             just copying what was said or        
                                        written on the board.                

6.3.7                                6.3.8                                
Which of the following is NOT         Why should one take only a few    
active participation at lecture?     written notes during a lecture?      
  a. taking notes                    Are there exceptions to this         
  b. listening                       rule?                                
  c. thinking                                                             
  d. asking questions                                                     
6.3.9                                6.3.10                               
   If you can not already do so,        Practice blinking each eyelid     
practice blinking each eyelid        separately while holding the         
separately without any other         eyelid closed.  Then learn     
facial movements.  Note that         to open one eyelid while closing     
you have to learn voluntary          the other.  There are many other     
control of the muscles of your       muscles over which you may not       
body.                                have learned voluntary control!      
                                     1. b   8. Taking written notes       
New level 3 words                    2. b   interferes with listening     
                                     3.     and processing information,   
                                     4. a   especially if one tries to    
                                     5. T   to be neat and organized.     
                                     6. F   It is okay, however, if the   
                                     7. a   lecturer is very slow and repetitive.                   

Learning from Lectures Step 3:  REACT.  It is easy to listen passively to
a lecture, and it is hard work to listen actively, with your attention
divided between receiving information and processing it.  The time to
learn the ideas presented during a lecture is during the lecture itself.  
Many students think that their goal is to record as much of the
information as possible so that they can study and learn later.  There are
two things wrong with this approach.  In the first place, if you don't
understand the ideas when they are presented in the lecture, it is very
unlikely that you can figure them out later from your notes.  In the
second place, it is a waste of time.

      In most lecture situations, active participation means only covert 
listening and thinking.  But if the lecturer says something that you do 
not understand, then it is your job to ask for clarification.  Recall that 
the lecturer is using words to try to explain a non-verbal idea.  If you 
were paying attention and didn't understand what was said, it is the 
lecturer's fault, not yours.  It is her or his job to put the idea into 
meaningful-to-you terms. . .assuming, of course, that you have a 
college-level vocabulary.  You can't expect a professor to "dumb-down" an 
idea to words at a childish level, but you can expect different words and 
different examples aimed at clarifying the idea. Never leave a lecture 
confused.  When active listening-thinking isn't enough, ask questions 
during or after class. 

Learning from Lectures Step 4:  RECORD.  Almost every other book on
college learning advises students to take lots of notes during a lecture,
as many as three or four pages an hour.  My advice is just the opposite:  
Take few written notes.  I hasten to remind you that the best learning
tactics are idiosyncratic, and you must determine for yourself how many
notes you take.  The answer will probably not be the same for every
course.  But I recommend that you don't try to be neat, and take only as
many written notes as you think you will need to remind you of what was

6.4.1                                6.4.2                                
The succeeding course in a field     To elucidate a procedure is to      
of study is the one that             a. explain it                      
a. is easier                         b. explore it                      
b. is harder                         c. disprove it                            
c. goes before                       d. prove it                        
d. follows next                                                         

6.4.3                                6.4.4                                
When you improvise a solution,       A rule that pertains to you         
a. you get along without it          a. applies to you                  
b. you make do                       b. appeals to you                  
c. you follow directions             c. is meaningful to you            
d. you try it out                    d. has value to you                

6.4.5                                6.4.6                                
True or false?                       True or false?                      
The first review of your             By taking complete lecture         
lecture notes should occur           notes neatly written in your         
on the same day that you             notebook, you can avoid the extra    
took them.                           step of having to rewrite them.      

6.4.7                                6.4.8                                
When during a lecture should you                                          
take notes?                          In what sense does Logan agree       
  a. Before you understand.          that students should take lots       
  b. While you are learning.         of notes during a lecture?           
  c. After you understand.                                                
  d. When everyone else does.                                             

6.4.9                                6.4.10                               
Negative practice                    Practice saying rapidly               
Clench your teeth tightly                                               
together and recite out loud            The two tots took turns on        
something you have memorized.        the teeter-totter 'til Tom took      
Note how important the shape of      them to the test tent.               
your mouth is in forming the                                              
sounds of speech.                                                         

                                     1. d   8. Logan favors taking lots   
New level 3 words                    2. a   of mental notes and few       
                                     3. b   written notes.  Actually,     
   advocate                          4. a   he recommends taking lots     
                                     5. T   of total notes, with the      
                                     6. F   amount of written notes       
                                     7. c   depending on the student      
                                            and the professor.            

Why do I advise against taking lots of written notes?  Because your mind 
can only think of one thing at a time; you have a limited capacity for 
sharing among different activities.  Writing requires a lot of sustained 
attention.  Take a moment to try this little exercise:  Start tapping your 
preferred hand regularly on the desk at a rate of about two taps per 
second.  Now try to keep tapping while you write anything that comes to 
mind.  You will
find that writing requires so much attention that even tapping becomes 
irregular.  Similarly, unless the lecture is very slow and redundant,  
writing is incompatible with listening-thinking. 

Taking notes IS NOT active participation.  It takes much less mental 
effort to copy what the lecturer is saying than to process it.  Many 
don't understand a drawing that I put on the chalkboard because they are 
very busy neatly copying the drawing instead of listening to what I am 
saying about
it.  Learn first, then write notes.  You may have noticed that I referred 
to "written" notes in the preceding paragraphs.  Writing is the slowest of 
the verbal skills.  If you write neatly for an hour, you can read what you 
wrote in five minutes or less...and you can think it in two minutes or 
less.  Hence, my advice is to take lots of mental notes during the 
lecture,  and only jot down  enough written notes to remind you of what 
was said.  In this context, don't worry about neatness, spelling, or 
grammar, and use any shorthand symbols you know or improvise.  The 
lecturer may deliberately pause to give you time to write, but more 
generally, you need to keep your limited attention capacity focused on the 
lecture and not diverted by the mechanical act of writing.  

from Lectures Step 5:  WRITE.  If you do as I have advocated, you will 
probably find that your scribbled notes would not be very meaningful 
several days or weeks later.  The ideas you learned in lecture immediately 
begin to fade from memory, and you will need more complete written notes 
in the future. Accordingly, sometime shortly after a lecture, and 
certainly that day or evening, you need to re-write your notes.  I don't 
mean just copying them over
neatly.  I mean using your written notes to remind you of your mental 
notes, reconstructing the lecture in your mind, and then writing down in 
your own words
as much as you think you will need when it comes time to prepare for the 
exam.   You are not graded on your notes.  Just be sure that you will be 
able to read and understand them later.  

This re-write step pertains even if you decide to take a lot of written 
notes in class.  A half-hour to refresh your memory now can be worth 
several hours of study later.  This is because you not only have to get 
knowledge into your memory, you also have to be able to get it out, to 
remember it later.  If you rewrite your lecture notes in the way I have 
elucidated, recalling what the lecturer said and summarizing the ideas in 
your own words, you are completing the input-output cycle.  In the 
process, you may find out that you really didn't  understand something  
very well and you should ask the professor about that before the next 
class.   But the main advantage is that you will have begun to practice 
remembering the information while it is still fresh in your mind and hence 
it is relatively easy to recall. 

Learning from Lectures Step 6: REVIEW.  You may sometimes combine this 
step with the preceding one, but the ideal procedure is to re-write your 
lectures notes soon after the lecture and then review them again shortly 
before going to bed that night.  The reason for this is given in the note 
at the end of this chapter on consolidation of learning.  Of all the 
suggestions I have about learning, the cheapest in the sense of pay-off 
per minute, is to review your notes before sleeping.  Just five minutes 
spent with your notes before bed-time can greatly enhance your memory of 
the material.   
Learning from Lectures Step 7: REDUCE.   Your notebook should become a 
second text for the course material.  For it to serve that purpose, you 
need to have written your notes in such a way that you can mark up your 
notebook much as you do a textbook.  As you can probably anticipate by 
now, I do not believe that there is any one best way to transcribe your 
notes.  The most common method is to write in longhand in a spiral 
notebook.  Because I had learned to type
much faster than I could write legibly, I preferred to re-write on the 
typewriter.  If you have a word-processor and a printer, using a personal 
computer could be an ideal technique.  Any method with which you feel 
comfortable is as good as any other for you. There is one important 
guideline in re-writing your notes:  Be sure to leave plenty of blank 
space to write short summaries of the main ideas. The reduction step, 
condensing ideas into fewer words, is the real essence of mastering a 
subject.  This is because we think in units called "chunks" of 
information.  There is no fixed size of a chunk of information;  the size 
depends on learning.  But you can only hold in mind about seven chunks at 
a time, and so the larger the chunks, the more information you can 

6.5.1                                6.5.2                                
A technique that is conducive to     The essence  of an idea is its       
learning is one that                   a. true nature                     
  a. contributes to it                 b. alternative meaning             
  b. interferes with it                c. original source                 
  c. goes along with it                d. importance                      
  d. has nothing to do with it                                            

6.5.3                                6.5.4                                
An ineffectual method is one that    To recapitulate an argument is to   
  a. is not learnable                  a. disprove it conclusively        
  b. is not productive                 b. restate it briefly              
  c. is not easy                       c. revise it completely            
  d. is not difficult                  d. demonstrate it empirically      

6.5.5                                6.5.6                                
True or false?                       True or false?                       
Generally speaking, the fewer        A student should spend as much     
the number of words you need to      time reciting an idea as it takes    
explain something, the better        to study and learn it originally.    
you understand it.                                                        

6.5.7                                6.5.8                                
How big is a "chunk" of                                                   
information?                           Why is the difference between      
    a. a word                          maintenance rehearsal and            
    b. a phrase                        elaborative rehearsal important?     
    c. a sentence                                                           
    d. it depends on the person                                             

6.5.9                                6.5.10                               
Make it a point of learn to          Make up some short-hand symbols   
use common symbols such as           for words you find that you use      
< _ less than  arrow pointing        frequently when taking lecture       
> _ more than    up _ increasing     notes.  Include abbreviations.       
w/ _ with      down _ decreasing     Try to add a new symbol every        
& _ and       right _ leads to       few lectures.                        
# _ number     left _ feedback                                            

                                     1. a   8. Maintenance rehearsal      
New level 3 words                    2. a   repeats the material word_    
                                     3. b   for word and leads to         
      concise                        4. b   memorization but it does      
      spiral                         5. T   not require understanding.    
                                     6. T   Elaborative rehearsal         
                                     7. d   develops comprehension.       

For example, if you are a baseball fan, the term "triple-play" is a large 
chunk of information.  You not only know that it means to get three outs 
in a
single play, but you have clear ideas of the most likely ways that this 
can happen.  It may also mean a few unusual or very critical triple-plays 
in your
experience.  All of this is wrapped up in the single concept (chunk), but 
only if you have learned that much.  The process of chunking happens 
as you keep going over your notes, but you can facilitate the process by 
reducing your notes to concise summaries of the ideas.

Learning from Lectures Step 8: RECITE.  There is one aspect of learning 
that all experts agree is very important but that only a few students 
practice: Recitation.  In common usage, "to recite" means to repeat the 
material word for word, and that is appropriate if you are required to 
memorize something so that you can give the answer verbatim.   As we use 
the term, "to recite" means to recall the material from memory, not 
necessarily verbatim.
Indeed, in most cases, word for word recitation is ineffectual.  This form 
of recitation is called "maintenance rehearsal" because it holds the 
information briefly in your mind.  This is what you do when you keep 
repeating a telephone number while waiting to dial it.   If you repeat it 
enough times, you memorize the number.  However, for most college 
learning, the best form of recitation is to put the material into your own 
words. This is called "elaborative rehearsal"
because it requires you to recapitulate describe explain the idea.  
Indeed, you should try to say it in a number of different ways, and where 
appropriate, you should try to give original examples of the idea. 
Furthermore, you should spend at least half of your total study time 
rehearsing the material.  "Going over
your notes" should not mean simply re-reading them. You need to close your 
eyes or look away from your notebook and rehearse the ideas elaboratively.

6.6.1                                6.6.2                                
An antecedent event is a             People who collaborate              
a. following one                     a. work together                   
b. preceding one                     b. think alike                     
c. familiar one                      c. break the law                   
d. public one                        d. fight each other                

6.6.3                                6.6.4                                
To conjure an image is to            Things that have been synthesized 
have been   
a. summon it mentally                a. broken apart
b. describe it verbally              b. sorted into categories
c. copy is visually                  c. measured for defects
d. like it secretly                  d. made into a whole

6.6.5                                6.6.6                                
True or false?                       True or false?                       
Good students would usually          One can profitably combine the     
give themselves lower grades         review step with the ready step.     
than they actually get.                                                   

6.6.7                                6.6.8                                
The best student to study with                                                 
is one who is                          What is the role of your           
    a. a poorer student                imagination when reciting ideas      
    b. an equal student                that you have learned?               
    c. a better student                                                     
    d. the best student                                                     

6.6.9                                6.6.10                               
Try to sit in different seats        Learning is less specific to      
in different parts of the lecture    context if you learn in different    
room from time to time.              contexts.  (For students who sit     
(Beware   You may find that other    in the same seat, grades tend to     
students object if you sit in        be lower the further away from       
"their" seat.)                       professor the chosen seat!)          

                                        1. b   8. Instead of reciting        
   New level 3 words                    2. a   ideas into "thin air," you    
                                        3. a   should always imagine an      
      legitimate                        4. d   audience of some type and     
      perspective                       5. T   pitch the recitation to       
                                        6. T   that audience.                

This is the one stage in learning where studying with someone can be 
conducive to better understanding of the material.  After you both have 
completed the preceding steps and are ready to practice recalling your 
knowledge from memory, you may find that having another student criticize 
your summary, and you, in turn, criticizing her or his summary, will 
sharpen your understanding of the subject.  Because you bring different 
backgrounds to the subject, your thoughts may be somewhat different. 
Collaboration works best when you are approximately equally good students.  
You not only practice recalling ideas from memory, but you both gain new 
However, recitation does not require another real imaginary 
person will do very well. Those of us in the business all attest to the 
fact that the very best way to learn a topic is to try to teach it.  
Hence, one of the most beneficial ways to rehearse what you have learned 
is to imagine yourself teaching it to someone else.  Which is more, you 
can conjure up different types of students: first a child to whom you must 
explain the idea  in simple terms; next an educated lay person with a good 
vocabulary but little knowledge of the subject; then a fellow student who, 
for legitimate reasons, did not attend the class; finally, your professor 
who already understands the
idea and wants to know that you also understand it. In this last case, 
your very brief summary will probably suffice.  In my experience, reciting 
material in
these various ways is an excellent context to learn to become  your own 
worst critic.   If you listen to yourself while you are reciting (or 
better yet, record your recitation so you can listen later), you can learn 
to grade your own performance.  No one knows better than you whether you 
were trying to fake it or
whether you really understand it but are having difficulty remembering it 
or finding words to express it.  In the former case, you need to return to 
review/reduce steps to learn it better.  In the latter case, you need 
additional practice at recitation. 

Learning from Lectures Step 9:  Re-REVIEW.  The basic principles of 
learning apply regardless of the source of the information.  Thus, the 
arguments given 
in the last chapter about the need for frequent review apply to lecture 
notes as well as to the textbook. One of the most common tactical errors 
is to wait
until an exam is scheduled before reviewing lecture notes.  Even the best 
notes will have lost some of their meaning if you have not refreshed your 
memory of
the ideas from time to time between the lecture and the exam.  

     One excellent time to review lecture notes is just before the next 
class, and one of the best places to review is in the classroom.  
Reviewing before class primes your mind for the next lecture, and doing it 
in the classroom where the exam will be given associates the recall of 
knowledge with that context.  You get double benefit from getting to class 
a few minutes ahead of schedule and reviewing notes.  When there is time 
to do so, my advice is to review all of your notes from the beginning of 
the term.  As with the text, doing so will help you synthesize ideas from 
past lectures with the current one.

Learning from Lectures Step 10:  RETRIEVAL.  To a large extent, the 
antecedent steps have gone a long way toward preparing you for an exam.  
However, there are a few additional tactics to consider.  These are 
described in the succeeding chapter.
     The most common teaching method used in college freshman courses is 
the lecture.  Few professors were trained in how to prepare and deliver 
lectures and hence there is some justification for being critical of the 
method.  However the lecture is here is stay and good students know how to 
get the most out of it. This chapter focused on ten steps involved in 
"getting the most" out of lectures:    

1.  Read.  A good lecturer does not repeat the information written in the 
text, but s/he does assume that you have at least surveyed the assignment 
and read it enough to know the terminology.   
2.  Ready.   Your mind can function best if it has been primed for the 
task by reviewing related material right before class.    
3.  React.  The critical aspect of learning from a lecture is active 
participation.  This must entail covert attention divided between hearing 
the words and processing them; it may also entail overt acts such as 
asking and answering questions. 

   6.7.1                                6.7.2                                
Something that disrupts class        A procedure is judicious if it 
     a. breaks class up                   a. is a sound, wise one            
     b. entertains the class              b. is an easy, simple one          
     c. establishes order in class        c. is a bold, creative one         
     d. uses the class for                d. is an immoral, indecent one     
        other purposes                                                       

   6.7.3                                6.7.4                                
Merging traffic is                   Searching in vain is                
      a. coming together                   a. interesting                    
      b. splitting apart                   b. difficult                      
      c. moving slowly                     c. self-satisfying                
      d. moving rapidly                    d. useless                        

   6.7.5                                6.7.6                                
   True or False?                       True or False?                       
     You don't need to read the           One's reduced notes may look       
   text before the lecture unless       very much like one's original        
   the professor sticks closely to      notes from class.                    
   the text.                                                                 

   6.7.7                                6.7.8                                
   A poor time to review notes is                                            
     a. before lecture                    What are the two ways in           
     b. before sleep                    which one may "react" during         
     c. after lecture                   a lecture?   Are both necessary?     
     d. after sleep                                                          

   6.7.9                                6.7.10                               
   If you have not already                 Use your middle finger on         
   learned to touch-type     1 2 3      number 8 as "home base," and         
   numbers into a keyboard,  4 5 6      locate numbers as you think of       
   practice extensively.     7 8 9      them in any irregular order.         
   (A touch-tone telephone     0        Practice this task with           
   is a good practice                   each hand.                           
   instrument...on the hook.)                                                

                                        1. a   8. Reacting may be overt or   
   New level 3 words                    2. a   covert.  Overt is asking      
                                        3. a   and answering questions;      
      constitute                        4. d   covert is attending,          
                                        5. F   thinking, and rehearsing.     
                                        6. T   Only covert reacting is       
                                        7. d   necessary; overt may be       

4.  Record.  Your eventual goal is to process the information in the 
lecture and the more processing you can do in class, the better.  Because 
writing uses a lot of your limited mental capacity, you should take lots 
of "mental notes" and only enough written notes to remind you of what was 
5.   Re-write.  As soon as possible after class, while the ideas are still 
fresh in your mind, you should expand and organize your written notes so 
that you will be able to reconstruct the information accurately at a later 
6.  Review.  Evidence suggests that experiences are not fully fixed in 
your mind immediately but require some time without disruption in order to 
be consolidated.  Accordingly, a good tactic is to review your l                 
:    :
          3. . . Selective    :    Occasional
                 Attention    :       "catching up"
                        vs    :
                         :    Verbatim shadowing/memorizing
    2. . .   Personal    :       Limited vocabulary/grammar
           Pragmatism    :
                   vs    Wandering mind,         
1. . .              :       competing mental habits     
Right Attitude:     :
Commitment +      Pre-occupation with personal problems,
  Optimism +           ignorance, and impulsive action
vs                          P I T F A L L S         
                Doing aimless/hopeless time