Tips for Making the Most of Lectures

September 3, 2021 Rachel Grier

Taking full advantage of your lectures will make a huge difference on your university performance. Despite many lectures being advertised as optional, it’s worth attending all of them, as they give you a solid base to build upon during your independent study for the rest of the week. However, simply attending is not enough. Here are a few things you need to do to ensure you enjoy and fully benefit from lectures.

1. Sit in the Right Place

Research has found that students who sit at the front and in the middle when they attend lectures gain the highest grades. Of course, this could be because the most motivated students choose these spots, but there are definitely advantages to these seats. By sitting at the front, you’ll be able to hear the professor more clearly and avoid missing anything. By being in the middle, you’ll have an optimal view of the presentations.

2. Take Notes

Note taking is a skill that you’ll gradually develop during your time at university. You may like to experiment with different techniques until you find what works best for you — typed or written, one or multiple colours, and mind maps or bullet point lists. It’s important to strike a balance between capturing all the key information and keeping your notes concise: whatever you do, avoid writing the lecture word for word. In addition, develop a shorthand for common words and incorporate acronyms.

3. Record Your Lectures

It can be worthwhile to record your lectures, as this will enable you to refer back to them at a later date. Having recordings is ideal for clarifying what you meant in your notes and even for listening to the entire lecture again, such as when preparing for a test. There’s no need to purchase a recording device — you can just use your phone. Your seat at the front and in the middle will come in useful for producing a clear recording.

4. Ask Questions

Most professors welcome questions, as it helps them see what students understand and where they need extra information. However, if asking questions during the lecture itself is too intimidating (or if you have no opportunity), make a note of what you want to ask and bring it up at a later date.

5. Eat Healthy Snacks

If you have an early morning lecture or several back-to-back lectures, make sure you keep your energy levels up by eating plenty and staying hydrated. Just make sure you choose water over caffeine and avoid large amounts of sugar — otherwise, when the effects wear off, you’ll feel more tired than ever.

6. Attend Lectures with Friends

You’re less likely to skip a lecture and more likely to stay engaged if you attend with a study buddy. Plus, this allows you to compare notes afterward to check your understanding and make sure you didn’t miss anything.

7. Figure Out What You Enjoy

If you end up hating the lectures of a particular class, bear this mind when deciding what classes to take next semester. Whereas some may be unavoidable (unless you switch majors), you can at least make sure you enjoy your electives.

You’ll be more likely to attend lectures if you live near campus. For Brock University off-campus housing, you have Regent Student Living. We’re only a five-minute walk from Brock Arts Campus and directly opposite the bus stop — you can be at university in just 12 minutes. Apply now to secure a suite before next semester.