Keep Your Mind Alive During Lecture

Some instructors are good lecturers, others not so much. But whatever your circumstance, you can do a lot on your end to get the maximum benefit out of attending lecture:

Write notes in your own words. Listen to what your instructor is saying and write your own notes. Writing your own notes is very different from just sitting there and writing down whatever the instructor says or writes on a board. If you’re listening and writing things in your own words, you’re processing the information as you go.

Take notes on interesting stories and anecdotes. Instructors often tell stories and give examples to show the relevance of the information they’re presenting. They don’t usually write down these stories, how ever, so many students don’t write them down either. If the instructor tells a good one that helps you grasp the concept they’re talking about, jot down a few notes about it in the margin of your notes. When you’re studying later, these side notes may help you recall the topic.

Sit in the best place for you in lecture. Usually, the front is best. It’s too easy to get distracted and tune out in the back. However, if you’re some one who gets sleepy and might need to move around a little to wake up, then try an aisle seat. If you get sleepy, you can get up and take a short walk to the rest room. It’s better to get up and move than to miss half of lecture because you took a nap.

Ask questions when you don’t understand. If you’re prepared for class and following the lecture but something doesn’t make sense to you, then ask about it. Chances are if you don’t get it, someone else doesn’t either.

Be in good physical shape for class. Get enough sleep, exercise, and healthy food so that you’re ready to participate.