Making a fair copy of lecture notes

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This is probably an unproductive use of time better allocated to understanding your notes, reading around them and supplementing them with further material, towards the end goal of establishing ‘the package'. You should be aiming to take sufficiently good and clear notes during lectures to make it unnecessary to spend further time merely in rewriting the same material again. You may find it necessary to add to your notes if you have had to leave a gap, or to correct small passages, but it should not be necessary to have to rearrange the whole fifty minutes’ worth. There may be circumstances, however, in which you feel it is desirable to rewrite all or part of the lecture notes. Before doing so, the following are points worth considering.

(i) Rewriting the notes can help you assimilate the material but it is advisable to go through the lecture soon after anyhow, and this would probably have the same effect.

(ii) Was the lecturer’s style unclear? Did they jump from point to point? Or speak quickly? With the result that it was impossible to take adequate notes? In this case it may be worth sorting out what you did manage to take down, adding your own material and rewriting the notes to form one comprehensible set. The criterion must be whether what you wrote down in the lecture was so bad it is a good use of your time to produce a fair copy, or whether you can make sense of what is left, even if somewhat messy, and simply add material of your own.

(iii) Was the lecture intended to supply essential core material for your course? In other words, will you have to rely on the information contained in the lecture notes at some later stage, or can you achieve equally good results without referring to them again? If so, again, there is little point in making a fair copy,
however inadequate they are.

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