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Student Learning Success Guides!

LEARNING FROM LECTURES is often challenging for many students. Learning how you can get the most out of time spent in lectures will make a huge difference to your level of understanding and success.

Students Sitting in Crowded Lecture Hall

TIPS

Get enough sleep and eat a healthy breakfast to start the day ready to learn.

Sit close to the front of the class to make it easier to avoid distractions. You'll also have more eye contact with your instructor, which will help you stay engaged and attentive.

Don't bring distractions to class: turn your phone to vibrate, block social media during class time, and don't sit with people who like to chat or distract you during class.

Only answer your phone if it's an emergency. Leave the room before you start to speak. Speak in a normal voice once you're outside the classroom.

SELF-REFLECTION

Did you choose to sit in that place to learn or to socialize?

How can you avoid distraction, and avoid being a source of distraction for other students?

How do you contribute to class discussions (ask questions, seek clarification, introduce new ideas)?

How can you make mental connections to readings during the lecture?

What is one change you could make to improve your concentration in class?

Learning from Lectures

To get the most out of each lecture, try these strategies:

Before:

  • Know the major topic/role of the lecture in the course.
  • Review your notes from previous lectures.
  • Arrive well-rested, fed, and alert.

During:

  • Use active listening skills.
  • Use an effective note-taking method.
  • Consider recording the lecture (with permission).

After:

  • Talk to your instructor or classmate if your notes have gaps.
  • Review your notes!

Before the Lecture

Being prepared for your lectures can help you to:

  • Know the topic and role of this lecture in the course.
  • Connect the topic to the previous lecture or assigned readings?
  • Know the major points of the lecture before you arrive!
  • Arrive well rested, fed, and alert.
  • Be ready to learn and focus.           

It is also very important to:

  • Read and understand class notes if provided in advance.
  • Read or survey the text (or other material).
  • Review notes from the previous class.
  • Attempt to solve the kind of problems presented in class.

During the Lecture

Attention strategies can help you get the most out of the lectures, so try to:

  • Find key ideas: headings, theories, examples, highlights or underlining on slides.
  • Listen for instructor cues like repetition, pauses, and questions.
  • Monitor your understanding. Are you unclear about anything?
  • Ask questions. You aren’t the only one who needs that answer.
  • Take notes using an effective method.
  • Make mind maps.
  • Make up acronyms.
  • Record lectures if it is an option.

After the Lecture

When your class is finished, it is important to:

Review your notes!

  • Connect lecture notes to topics already covered.
  • Evaluate for patterns and real-world applications. 
  • Analyze the ideas, theories, and arguments.

Create practice exam questions and do them!

  • This is the most effective study strategy.
  • It’s worth the effort!

Plan study sessions.

  • Include breaks, snacks, exercise, and subject changes.
  • Try to avoid cramming.