6 Tips to Ace Your Lectures

September 01, 2014

Taking large lecture classes as a freshman can be incredibly overwhelming. It’s a big change from high school classes, which were a fraction of the size. John, a senior at the University of Michigan shares his top 6 study tips for surviving and acing these classes!

1) Attend all the Lectures

I know this may seem like a no-brainer but in college, it is easy to find yourself lounging around in bed and not making it to your lecture (especially if the professor does not take attendance). Skipping lectures means that you are missing out on possible important material while still paying for it, so don’t waste that tuition!

2) Introduce Yourself to Friendly-Looking People

You will find that unless your teacher makes you move seats daily, most classes will become a reoccurring pattern of the same students in the same seats. Try to strike up a conversation, and get to know a couple of people around you. Try swapping Facebook names or exchanging numbers. It always helps to know at least a few people in your lecture, especially for help on homework and studying for midterms. If you see someone sitting alone, strike up a conversation - they’re sitting alone because they’re in the same situation as you!

3) Mark Down Due Dates with a Smartphone or Planner

This one is simple enough: write down important dates of exams, reviews, and make sure to use your planner or smartphone calendar daily to monitor what you need to accomplish. It is important to stay on top of these things - don’t expect the professor to remind you like your high school teachers used to!

4) Utilize Office Hours

Many teachers and graduate instructors offer office hours, a time in which students are able to talk with their teachers about questions, or even just chat about the professor’s research. If you are in a large lecture, this is a great way to get to know your teachers and likewise, for your teachers to get know you. No matter how large the class is, you want your teacher to know you by your name, not your student ID number. Someday, you might need a letter of recommendation for grad school.

5) Take notes!

A great way to pay attention in a large class is to actively take notes. If your teacher uses PowerPoint slides, find out if they can be made available to the class. If so, print out the slides and takes notes on them. If you prefer to type notes using your laptop, do so, but try to stay on task. Taking good notes will become a lifesaver when you finally need to study for the exam. By taking active notes you will be more prepared!

6) Sit Close to the Front

By sitting close to the front you are showing your teacher that you are interested in learning the class material. Even if that is not the case, sitting close to the front of the class will make you less eager to check Facebook or become distracted. Sitting in the back of the class may make taking a nap easier, but that is not what you are paying for!



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