Some teachers just don’t have the pizzazz to keep students’ attention during a lecture. No matter how interesting the topic may be, there are some classes that put you right to sleep no matter what. Unfortunately, listening in class, participating, and taking notes are a big part of getting a good grade in a lot of college courses.
Are you slacking off in a course that’s important to your education? Do you think listening will improve your test scores – if only you could seem to figure out how to do it? Here are a few ways you can make sure that you’re absorbing the material, even if you’ve got the teacher from Charlie Brown.
Snoozing? Do Your Homework / Review Your Material
Boosting participation is one of the best ways to absorb material, since your class becomes an experience rather than just heaps of information. That being said, it’s hard to participate when you don’t know what’s going on. If you were supposed to read a chapter at home, make sure you’ve done it – you’ll be more attentive just because the familiarity of the subject will trigger your memories of reading, help you to answer questions, and keep you engaged.
Daydreaming? Take More Notes
Maybe you’re not dozing off during class hours, but you can’t keep your mind from wandering. One way to focus on the subject at hand is to take notes – in fact, take more notes than you need to. Many people remember better after having written the information down, but even if that’s not the case for you, taking notes at least requires you to listen and compartmentalize the information in a way that’s easy for you to absorb.
Not Understanding? Make Eye Contact
Professors don’t expect you to understand everything they’re saying – that’s why they’re teaching you. However, they will always respect you for being engaged even if you’re not fully grasping the subject. If you make eye contact/watch your professor, you have two benefits: 1) the teacher has no reason to deduct participation points, keeping your grades up and 2) it gives you the opportunity to ask a question if the teacher can tell you’re a bit lost.
Distracted? Eat and Sleep Well
The two biggest ways to distract and sabotage yourself are by going to class hungry and going to class tired. Eat a good breakfast or a protein-rich snack before class to make sure that your stomach isn’t growling and to give you a little extra energy. Be well-rested so your eyelids don’t get heavy, which will cause you to miss out on information AND make your professor think less of your work ethic.