The ability to cull the key points from an academic lecture is critical for success in the classroom. Learning the most important parts of a lecture helps students focus on studying for tests and can help them write effective and informative essays, papers and reports. Lecture reports help with this goal by forcing students to pay close attention to what a teacher or professor is teaching so they can identify the overarching theme of the information, including supporting details, in a written summary.

Purpose of a Lecture Report

It's quite difficult, and might actually be impossible, to remember everything a teacher or professor says during the course of a lecture. If you don't write down what you're learning, you're running the risk of forgetting a key piece of information that you'll be tested on later. Taking lecture notes is the first step in creating a lecture report and requires you to listen carefully and record the most critical aspects of the topic you're being lectured on. From there, you can write the lecture report, which becomes a record of what you've learned and a study tool for the future.

What's Included in the Report

A lecture report is different than a research paper or academic report assignment because it's not a rundown of what information you would like to share with an audience. Instead, a lecture report acts as a reminder of what you've heard in class, though some teachers and professors require you to turn these in to prove that you are, indeed, listening and participating in class. The actual report usually includes an introduction, several paragraphs about the content of the lecture and a conclusion.

Lecture Notes - The First Step

Start with accurate notes. Come to class prepared with paper and a writing utensil, and plan to copy everything the teacher or professor writes on the board or shows you through online or computer-generated outlines. Include the date, class and title of the lecture in your notes. Write down the key points as they are presented, but don't limit yourself to only what you're hearing. Instead, write down any thoughts or ideas the lecture generates, according to Dianna Van Blerkom in her book "College Study Skills: Becoming a Strategic Learner."

Writing and Using the Actual Report

Review and write your lecture report within 24 hours. Write an introduction that defines the topic of the lecture and outlines what points will be made. Follow the introduction with a paragraph for each main point, including the definition and supporting information. Finish the report with a conclusion that brings all the information together in a brief summary. Rereading your lecture report while you're studying will help put the information covered into your long-term memory, according to the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University, which will help you recall it come test time.