How to get the best out of classroom lectures?See All Articles
Each student learns differently (Don’t worry, though, there’s plenty of fresher’s advice available for people) and this is something that not all universities classes can accommodate. Whether you prefer to learn by doing, or by reading, you need to adjust your studying to ensure you get the best out of classroom lectures. Read some of our tips on how to reach your full academic potential and more importantly, to get your money worth!
For some students, note-taking is the above-all-end-all of digesting information. It can never hurt to take notes – even if you are recording the lecture or feel like you know all the information that is being given to you. However, serious note-takers can go a step too far and not realise when their writing skills actually affect their learning ability. Test how many notes you can take and still actively learn in the lesson. Taking too many notes can actually break your concentration from what is being said and you might not ingest what is being taught. Printing of presentation slides proves very helpful so you can write notes alongside each slide instead of just take down what is in front of you.
Commit to actually completing the readings before the lesson. Most readings are put up before each lesson as a basic understanding so students can then dive deeper into issues during the lecture. If you don’t do the readings you might feel overwhelmed when you get to class and this can put you off from concentrating or doubt your ability. You can analyse the readings and then use this information for when you are in class. The Readings are also useful for debates and talking to other students about the information you found in them.
After your lesson revises your notes, slides and recorded minutes. It’s good to do this a couple of days after the lecture as some of the information can escape you now that you’re not in the learning environment. If you take notes, listen to the lecture and read the presentation again it can help your brain remember the information.
This can be applied to all areas of the lecture – films, debates or question and answer sessions – not just group work or when being directly asked a question. If you interact with the different parts of the lesson you’ll find that you’re involved and have a much higher attention span and therefore learn more.
Try to talk out the issues you covered in class with your classmates as in some cases actually talking about a topic can make it seem more interesting. You’re more involved in the conversation and hearing other people’s viewpoints – especially in a more private environment – can help to speak honesty.
Get involved! Students and teachers like to debate as other perspectives can usually open up more possibilities and viewpoints – especially if they’re related to theories and readings! If there are debates happening in your lectures try to get involved, it doesn’t matter if it is related to someone else’s comment or you might feel as if it is stupid, you’d be surprised at how many other people are thinking the same thing!
This might seem too obvious but it is so easy to become distracted during a lecture! Turn your phone off or on silent, try to avoid using an iPad, tablet or phone for taking notes, or sit with people who distract you. Distractions will break your concentration and with lectures lasting up to 4 hours, it can be really hard to gain that concentration again.
If you are feeling unsure about how you are learning in your classroom you can set up a one-on-one tutorial with your teacher and speak about your progress and any issues you may have. It is also a perfect opportunity for you to ask questions you may have felt too nervous to bring up in class or to go over any topics from previous lessons, but you should always make sure that you turn up to all of your lectures.
Go back and study what you have previously learnt every few weeks as in most cases they are still relevant to what you are learning now, or might help you further understand the next part of the course. Revision is important during coursework and exam season so getting the practice in now will make the ordeal a lot easier to handle later!
If you need to sit at the front or by yourself to learn, take lots of notes, or need utter silence then be selfish! You are paying for your education and you deserve to learn. If you feel like you need to visit the library before, or straight after class then do it! Don’t worry about offending your classmates or new friends because of the time you need to study – it’s your education and that is what is important.
With classrooms, it can seem very long, and they don’t call it a lecture for nothing! Teachers can talk to you for hours because they have to get out so much material, but if you have a question then raise your hand! Teachers are paid to help you learn what they’re teaching you and it is their job to help you with your studies. There is no such thing as a stupid question!
Classroom learning is similar to an acquired taste, only some people can handle it. If you find it difficult to adjust to, or that it isn’t as proactive for your academic growth book a session with your personal tutor, teacher or visit the study aid department at your university. You can find ways to translate your classroom learning to suit your needs as a student.
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