How to Prepare for College Lectures

The word “lecture” in and of itself conjures up many negative images and connotations for most people. That may be one of the main reasons why many students begin to dread them before they ever take place. However, it’s important to realize there is a difference between listening to a college lecture and being “talked down to” by an authority figure.

 If you are willing to reframe the experience, you will be well on your way to using each of your professor’s lectures to your advantage. In this article, we will talk about how you can prepare yourself for college lectures to gain the most out of the experience.

What Exactly Is a College Lecture?

In high school, you were likely accustomed to instruction and text learning. Your teachers used different methods to give each student the chance to keep up at their own pace. With a college lecture, however, the professor controls the pace of the class. He or she is highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise and is probably eager to share it verbally.

Frankly, in many ways, the practice itself appears at first glance to be somewhat narcissistic. It may appear as though the speaker has a need to drone on about their experiences and knowledge—seemingly to hear the sound of their own voice.

However unsavory college lectures may be to you, they will become a vital component of your experience that you will be required to either endure or enjoy. The choice is up to you. If you want to ensure the whole college lecture scene leaves you unscathed, it’s best that you acclimate yourself about what to expect. By employing a few strategies, you can maximize your ability to get through each lecture with ease and make the most of it.

Why Do Professors Use the Lecture Model of Learning?

Lectures are a completely different way of learning than what you are probably accustomed to. They offer the speaker an opportunity to provide the maximum amount of information in the shortest amount of time to the most amount of people. However, being attentive is crucial to your success.

In the real world, there is a lot more information that needs to be covered in each class to cover all the necessary material you need to learn. You have to keep up. You won’t have the chance to pause, slow down the lecture, or rewind for clarification.

You might be wondering what the point is, but rest assured there is an excellent reason for this mode of learning. You are responsible for assimilating the information. Instead of a teacher being paid to make sure you understand the subject, you have become the consumer. You are paying for information, and you are paying dearly for it.

In essence, a college lecture is a condensed form of information given to you to help you learn, so it’s up to you to pay attention and get it right. While it may seem harsh, consider the amount of information you will have to retain over the next four years. If you are serious about making the most of your investment in your higher education, you will look upon lectures as something of incredible value instead of as a hardship you must suffer through.

Remember, you are no longer required by law to attend school. Instead, you are a consumer of education and information. Once you comprehend the distinction, your experience will take on new value to you.

How to Make the Most of Each Lecture

•If your professor gives you materials or texts to read before class, read them. Don’t assume you can catch up during the lecture. Much of the literature you will be given is intended to be looked at beforehand so you will be ready for the talk itself. If you neglect to go over the materials, you might find yourself lost before you even get started.

• Look at your syllabus often. It’s easy to forget all about this vital piece of paper after a month or two, but it is genuinely one of the best tools in your study arsenal. Reading through it at least once a week will give you a fresh understanding of what your professor is trying to teach you and what you can expect out of the course. You will find that many of the critical points you did not get at the beginning of class will become much clearer as you proceed

•Keep track of all your notes from previous lectures and classes. Take some time to refresh your memory on the concepts you’ve already been given.

•If you must, record each lecture. However, studies have shown that the best way to retain information is through handwritten notes as opposed to using digital tools. The hand-eye coordination and attention required can help you remember better than relying upon other methods.

•If you have questions, make a note of them and be sure to address them during any Q&A sessions after the lecture. There is no reason to leave the room confused or baffled by what the professor has talked about. If you do not get the opportunity to have your questions answered, be sure to make an appointment with the instructor during his or her office hours to clarify any points you still need help with. Don’t worry about seeming like a pest. You are merely ensuring you understand the entirety of the materials as a consumer of information.

•During each lecture, seat yourself in the best spot that will allow you to stay engaged and focused. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your phone or computer. Make sure you are well-rested so you can pay attention and come to the lecture ready to take away as much valuable information as possible. Take handwritten notes and listen up. Extract every ounce of information you can from what is spoken.

After the Lecture

Look over your notes and make sure you have a basic understanding of what you heard. If you have questions, write them down. You can talk to some of your fellow students or a study partner to clarify anything that seems confusing. If you still have too many questions or are baffled, be sure to set aside time to go over any issues with your professor. He or she will be more than willing to help. That is what they are there for.

If you find you need extra help, don’t be afraid to ask for a little academic coaching or tutoring through your school’s learning center. Most colleges have peers who are happy to help other students stay focused and learn how to study effectively. If you find lectures to be a challenge, take advantage of all the resources available to you.