How to Make the Most of Long Lectures


Love them or hate them, lectures are critical for helping you understand the material for your classes. Unfortunately, long lectures can feel like a slog, especially if you struggle to pay attention for extended periods of time. Nonetheless, it’s important to make the most of them to take full advantage of your education. Here are some ways to get more out of your lectures.

1. Select Your Seat Wisely

If the lecture hall is large, you may struggle to hear well sitting near the back, particularly if the professor lacks a microphone. Avoid missing information by choosing a seat near the front of the room. You should also sit in the middle to have a clear view of the PowerPoint presentation.

2. Improve Your Note Taking

Experiment with various note taking strategies to figure out what works for you. Try both writing and typing — you’re likely able to type faster, but writing can help you retain more information. Using more than one colour is also useful, as is including diagrams.

3. Consider Recording the Lecture

If your college allows it, you may like to record the lecture with your phone. This could prove useful if you miss parts of the lecture due to your mind wandering. Having a recording is also helpful if you find that your notes are unclear in places, as you can listen again to what the professor said.

4. Ask Questions

It’s important to clear up any doubts you have about the lecture. Some professors welcome questions during lectures, whereas others prefer students to stay quiet. In the case of the latter, you can either stay behind for a few minutes after the lecture or make a note of your question and pay the professor a visit during office hours.

5. Stay Hydrated

Bring a bottle of cold water with you to your lecture to stay hydrated. You’ll find this maintains your energy levels better than large amounts of caffeine or sugar, as you won’t experience a crash when the effects wear off. If you have a couple of long lectures on the same day, this will be crucial.

6. Make Friends with Your Classmates

It’s easier to handle long lectures when you attend with friends. If no one you already know is in the class, put in the effort to make a couple friends. You’ll be able to study together to compare notes, discuss ideas, and generally support each other.

7. Choose Interesting Classes

Even the longest lectures are enjoyable if you’re interested in the topic. On the flip side, though, sitting through a long lecture for a class you find boring can be challenging. Read class descriptions and talk to other students before you come to a decision about what classes to take, and drop any classes you dislike early enough to take something else.

Making the most of long lectures is just one way you’re more likely to succeed at college. Another is dedicating enough time to studying on your own — although this is often easier said than done, especially if you face numerous distractions due to living in student residence. The solution is to move into an apartment. For Durham College off-campus housing, there’s no better option than Foundry Simcoe. Our fully-furnished suites and townhouses are designed to suit the student lifestyle. Sign a lease now to take advantage of our early bird pricing.

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