Most university students stop going to lectures after the first couple of weeks. Why would you when the lecture slides are posted online? Besides, there are so many other things you could be doing instead.
In most cases, lectures can be really helpful. You have the opportunity to listen to the information rather than simply reading on a screen. Your lecturer might elaborate on a point that might be a little difficult to understand, or spill the beans on an important hints that may help you in completing your upcoming assignment.
The key to taking something away from a lecture is actually paying attention to what's being said. Here are a few tricks to help you do that.
Fuel your brain
You need to make sure you’re alert and ready to focus on this lecture. If your lecture is early in the morning, it is essential to add having a healthy breakfast to your to-do list. Green tea contains both caffeine and L’theanine, which work together to keep your head calm and focused. It has been found that L’theanine allows the caffeine to be released more gradually and prevents a premature crash.
Read the lecture slides before the lecture
One of the reasons why some lecturers posted their lecture slides online is so you can give yourself an idea of what will be covered before you get there. That way, the lecture will seem like revision to help you understand the content a bit more. This can also give you more time to formulate questions to ask during class.
Get there early
It’s never a good idea to walk into a lecture room late. Not only will everyone stare as soon as the door swings open, but you’ll probably have a hard time catching up once you actually take your seat and get yourself ready. The trick is to get in about 10 minutes early so you can get out your notebook, find a pen and take a few minutes to relax before the lecture starts. Being prepared keeps your mind calm and ready to focus.
Turn off your phone
The mobile phone is the 21st century student’s biggest distraction. I don’t have to tell you that. You’re probably reading this on your phone right now. Contrary to popular belief, you can survive for an hour or two without checking it. It’s a good idea to switch it to silent, or even turn it off completely.
Write your notes the old-fashioned way
Dust off your notebook and pull your pens out of retirement. It’s best to reject the use of all forms of technology during your lectures to limit the chance of distraction by social media. This means writing your notes on paper, rather than your laptop. We’re sure sitting the HSC prepared you for writing as much information as you can in a short timeframe. You'll be surprised at how much better the information sticks.
If given the opportunity, ask/ answer questions
Depending on the lecturer and how big the lecture class is, there may be opportunities to ask and answer questions. Take advantage of these opportunities. This will lighten up an otherwise boring lecture, ensuring you are engaged in the information that is being presented. Write a list of questions with your lecture notes and find the best time to ask them. If there isn’t any opportunity to ask them during the lecture, see if you are able to ask the lecturer after it is finished.
Although it may seem difficult at first, keeping focused can made easier by following these steps. Try them during your next lecture and see the difference it makes.
WORDS BY JESSICA TESTA