If you expect to learn from lecture you must take notes!
We all have had the professors, teachers or coaches that have inspired us for a lifetime and taught us lifelong skills, passions and some even helped us discover new passions. We also have experienced classes with no recollection of the material or even the professors name or even the nightmare experiences where being called on to read made you want to vomit.
Sites like ratemyprofessors.com that offer reviews on professors, have become widely popular and sometimes even critical when choosing classes in college.
Knowing the type of prof your dealing with can help you avoid the mistakes of the pasts.
Each teacher has their own teaching style, kind of like a personality type, and this article will give you the frame work to assess, navigate and conquer any class by helping you recognize the type of teacher you will be dealing with this semester you will better adapt in your note taking strategies, class participation and study habits to maximize your results while minimizing your work and stress.
By the end of this article you will be prepared to handle any class and teacher without any preparation. Class will become fun and your notes will be very useful to you.
The key is to know what is coming at you, who is giving it and how to record the relevant information and filter the irrelevant.
The 10 Types of Professors and strategize to maximize learning:
1. The Rambler - This is the profs that wonders from point to point and usually goes over the time allotted for class. In this case you should identify the points on your notes and connect the relationships later.
2. The Reader - the prof that spends the whole lecture reading slides or material from the book. although this kind of lecture is numbing its easy to spot future exam questions if you know when to take notes. For example, anything the prof repeats, empathizes or brings to your attention gives us big hints on what the prof will put on the exam and you should highlight them or double underline to simply your studying in the future.
3. The Disaster - this prof is really smart but has no idea how where the topics begin or end and has no clue where the students knowledge on the topic begins or ends either. The best thing to do in this case
4. The Speed Daemon - This is the prof that thinks faster is better but goes so fast that note taking literally becomes impossible? In this case your only hope is to participate with questions to (1) slow the teacher down - to give you time to jot a note and (2) to pick his brain for a future test question. For example say: I feel i got a good grasps on "what the professor is taking about" but I got lost when you said "x" or I was wondering how "insert term" relates to "insert term."
5. The Crazy-Crazy scientist - This prof is an enigma, he knows everything has no style or pattern to teaching and the hw never corespondent to the hw. Literally exam questions are out of the blue and if you ask the professor a question you're likely to get: "we covered that last week, check your notes." or "i'm about to get to that..." In these cases your limited to self-learning but don't you'll be spending 200 hours in that classroom so if you plan accordingly you can still get an A.
6. The Good-Crazy Scientist (Uncle Rick) - This prof is good twin of the crazy-crazy prof and usually has snakes or other labs in the classroom to entertain you. These classes tend to be fun and filled with demonstrations and the occasional field trip. These classes make for great learning through discovery and going to class unprepared. Being sweat to this teacher usually guarantees your chances of getting the A because this prof have a tendency to loose things and makes up grades at the end based on class participation and give plenty of extra credit. In these cases, try mentining your notes from last week and saying: "i really enjoyed learning about [insert topic] am i clear that it relates to [insert last week topic] by [insert keyword or concept]? here your checking for clarity and signaling to the prof that you take notes and the lecture seriously.
7. The Harrison Ford - Typically this prof is found in your history class and often easily distinguished because they tend to be best dressed. These profs tend to repeat themselves alot which is effective at giving away tips on what will be on the exam so take notes here. Watch out for family stories most times they are irrelevant and are there more for you to decompress and prepare for the next concept. Feel free to review your notes as the prof tells a story about his cousin or college. Do not get napping here as the prof will be scanning for nappers during personal stories.
8. The Hipster - This prof loves to play "get-to-know-you" games on the first day and makes it a big deal that everyone speak or participate in class. Here depending on how strong you are with the material up ahead you should navigate yourself to be called on 2nd or last. This profs are softies so say "Hi" Mr./Mrs. [insert name] and "see you tomorrow." This will pad your grade and increase the chance of the prof calling you on something you already know about.
9. The Dinosaur - this is the same teacher that your parents had 30 years ago. Typically they are mean and spend the most of time explaining the rules and enforcing them. This is the perfect class for nap. The exams never change just ask your friends older brother.
10. The Mister Miyagi - This is the new breed of prof. Typically their classes are structured intelligently and build around the students needs and interest. Not all gurus are profs that teach students many of them work in the professional fields but sometimes this breed of prof is found in schools and they teach in a way that each student succeeds independently and collectively.
In conclusion, no one knows what kind of profs you'll get but hopefully after reading this article you will know how to scan the syllabus, take notes, participate in class and plan your 200 hours accordingly to minimize your stress and maximize your grade.
Check back soon for my new guide on how to take notes like spider-man.
To your success and unlimited potential,
Gene Nech is a sage, guru and expert at helping students ace their exams and get 4.0 GPAs by teaching: how to study, how to approach school and how to achieve their wildest dreams.