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How do I make the best out of a lecture class?

Since i'm a very hands-on learner, I find it hard to succeed in a lecture class, which is what most of mine are this semester in college! Any tips on how to stay focused and make it feel like you're not just a number? #classes

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Chetana’s Answer

This answer may be long,but for a good change read it carefully and give it a try. It surely works.


If you turn up at a lecture and haven’t got the foggiest idea what it’s going to be about, you’ll be playing catch-up for the next hour. Find out what’s going to be covered and read around it first, then you can relax and get the expert’s opinion on the subject.


Check and double check you’ve got everything you need: pens, paper, books and anything else that will come in handy. Don’t forget to think ahead if you’ve got more than one lecture in the day.


I know its hard to sit in the first row but that actually works. Try to take place in the first row.

Turn your mobile off, ignore your mates and listen to what’s being said. You never know, you might actually enjoy it.

Practise writing

Not quite as silly as it sounds: if there are long words that you’re having to write down a number of times, work out your own code or shorthand for them beforehand to save you a bit of time.

Take clear notes

While that might sound fairly obvious, bear in mind that any squiggles you jot down during the lecture might seem perfectly understandable at the time, but read more like a foreign language when you try to read them back later.

Write up your notes

Have a look at and amend your notes as soon as you can after your lecture; that way they’re more likely to register when you come to revise or write an essay


Obviously not during the lecture, but afterwards with your coursemates. A cup of coffee and a chat will help all of you get your heads around the subject that you’ve just been hearing about.

Ask the question

If something comes up in a lecture that you really don’t understand, don’t think twice about talking to the lecturer afterwards – or e-mailing them later if you can’t get hold of them – and asking for further explanation; that’s what they’re there for.

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Jack’s Answer

Hi Sarah,

My recommendation is to visit your professor during office hours and this applies to all classes, not just the lecture ones.

Most professors are bored out of their minds during office hours as most students simply won’t take up on the opportunity. Do a bit preparation for the visit, here are some possible topics: questions about the lecture, discuss ideas for writing assignments, recommendation for other courses.

Good luck.

Yes! I agree- office hours is where it's at! Erica Sheltry

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Rebecca’s Answer

I would suggest the following :

1. Prepare and understand the topics going to cover before the lecture - Professors usually would provide the syllabus at the beginning of each semester. You can use it to prepare before each lecture.

2. Pay attention and active participation - You can pay attention to what the Professor says in the lecture. If there is any discussion session, you should participate and contribute actively. Also, remember to jot down the notes for revision.

3. Review after the lecture - Review what you have learnt after the lecture and practice if possible.

4. Visit the Professor - If you have anything not clear, you can visit the Professor. This can help you to prepare the assignment, project or thesis of the subject.

Hope this helps!

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Jackie’s Answer

Hello Sarah!

It may seem as though you are a small fish in a big pond in a lecture class, but the truth is everybody is feeling that way and there are ways to branch out and succeed in these classes.

1. Before Hand Reading- any suggested reading by the professor is never just there for no reason, they want you to be able to get a head start on what is going to be talked about in class so that when there is a discussion you are participating or understanding what is being said. Once you start falling behind it starts to feel harder to catch up and next thing you know you're stressed!

2. Homework & Office Hours- another great way to stay connected in a lecture class is by doing homework assignments and readings on time, and then attending office hours for any questions or comments with your professor. This helps build a great student professor relationship, in which if you ever do fall behind or miss an assignment they know of your dedication and give you a hand to help.

3. Following the Syllabus- professors tend to give the best study habits and how to stay on top of work on their syllabus that many students tend not to read!

Jackie recommends the following next steps:

HOW TO PAY ATTENTION IN LECTURES: https://theuniversityblog.co.uk/2012/04/12/attention-in-lectures/
Tips and Tricks for Staying Focused in a Lecture: https://www.collegexpress.com/interests/public-colleges-and-universities/blog/tips-and-tricks-staying-focused-lecture/
How to Actively Learn During Lectures: https://www.wikihow.com/Actively-Learn-During-Lectures

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Simeon’s Answer

If your professor allows it, you could bring a sound recorder to class and record the lecture. Then, you can stop it, play it, or fast forward it at your own pace. There's not much you can do to make the lecture more engaging for yourself if its not engaging already. Try to pair up with other students and see if ya'll can share notes with one another. The easier you can make it to get the info you need, the better.