A Guide to Getting Through Long Lectures Successfully


When you’re not particularly in the mood for a lecture, it can be hard to stay focused — especially if the lecture is long. In fact, some students choose just to skip them. However, this means it’s much more difficult to do well on your assignments and finals, as you’ll have missed out on key information to help you understand the materials. Here are a few things you can do to get through even the longest lectures and come away feeling that you’ve learned something.

1. Watch the Recording

It’s worth watching the recording of the lecture at a later date to refresh your memory, such as before you write a paper on the topic. If your college doesn’t record lectures, you can make your own audio recording using your phone. Either way, consider increasing the speed of the playback. This is effective and will prevent you from spending a large amount of time on the same lecture twice.

2. Sit at the Front

To stay focused (and make a clear recording of the lecture), it’s best to sit at the front near the middle of the room. You’ll also be able to hear better and have a clear view of the slides.

3. Learn to Take Better Notes

Note taking sounds easy, but most students quickly discover that this is a skill they need to improve. It’s important to use shorthand to keep up with the lecturer — after all, it doesn’t matter if no one else understands what your notes mean, although it should be obvious to you later. It can also be useful to use diagrams instead of just sticking to words.

Whereas typing can mean you take notes faster, many students find that they retain information better when they write by hand. You may also like to write in two or more different colours. If you want to have a digital version of your notes, consider typing them up later. The added benefit of this is it means you’ll look through your notes again soon after the lecture.

4. Ask Questions

If your professor says something you don’t understand, ask for clarification. While there will likely be a limited amount of time for questions, most professors still want their students to be able to follow the lecture. For more in-depth discussions, save your question until after the lecture or visit your professor during office hours. Just make sure you do ask at some point.

5. Fuel Up

Avoid heading to an early morning lecture on an empty stomach. If you don’t have time for a proper breakfast, at least grab a quick, healthy snack. It’s also worth having a bottle of water with you. This is better than relying on caffeine and energy drinks, as you won’t crash later and feel worse than ever.

6. Attend with a Friend

Try to make a friend in every class. This should motivate you to attend your lectures. Plus, you can talk afterward about what you learned and compare notes to ensure you didn’t miss anything important.

7. Choose Classes You’ll Enjoy

You’ll look forward to your lectures if you enjoy the topics. While many classes are essential for your major, you can still choose electives that interest you. If you find many of your required classes boring, you may like to consider switching majors.

To succeed at college, you’ll also need to dedicate plenty of time to studying on your own. Find a room for rent near Georgian College, Barrie, where you can study in peace at Arcadian Students. Our student housing also has high-speed internet and dedicated study rooms. Book a tour to check out the community before you sign a lease.