Copyright

How to Pay Attention During Even the Most Boring College Lecture

For some college students, lectures are an unpleasant and boring struggle to stay awake. But lectures are an important course component, and you're only hurting yourself by nodding off, zoning out or blowing them off. Here are some methods you can try to make yourself a better lecture student.

View popular schools

By Sarah Wright

note taking tips lecture help

Schedule Smart

If you know that you're going to be groggy and out of it at 9AM, try not to schedule lecture classes for that time. This might not always be an option, but if it is, you should make sure to try to schedule lectures for times you'll actually attend and be alert.

Do Preliminary Readings

If your instructor assigned readings that relate to a future lecture, do that reading before attending. Otherwise, you'll probably be pretty clueless as to what's being discussed, and that will make it next to impossible to pay attention. Knowing something about the subject matter of a lecture before it's presented will help you follow along with what's being said, and will give you a foundation to build upon by taking notes.

Fix Your Attitude

If you assume that a lecture is going to be boring and pointless, it will probably seem that way to you, no matter what its content. Your approach to a lecture may help you get more out of it. Going with purpose and the will to get the most out of it might help change things around for you. If nothing else, you can view your effort to be focused and attentive as a gesture of respect to your instructor.

Be on the Lookout

Being engaged in a spoken lesson is difficult for people who tend to have a more visual style of learning. But listening for specific things in lectures might help you get more out of them. For example, you can try to seek out answers to questions you have about the material. If you have no prior thoughts on the lecture's subject, you can instead listen carefully and try to identify the main point or argument the speaker is making.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Take Careful Notes

You should note not only what you find interesting or important in a lecture, but also things that seem like potential topics for a paper, or things that seem like they may come up later in class or on a test. Come up with a system for identifying certain themes in the notes. Relying on your notes to work on papers and prepare for exams is a good way of making sure that you take lectures seriously.

Go With a Buddy

Do you have a friend who always seems on top of it, and seems to have no problems paying attention and connecting the dots in a lecture? See if you can rope him or her into being your lecture buddy. If they're willing, they might help keep you awake or give you a nudge when something particularly important is being said. Afterward, the two of you can go get a cup of coffee or lunch and discuss what was covered. This might help make the experience more fun, and having a partner to help you understand what's being said might help you get better at being a good lecture student, making them seem less daunting and dreadful.

Attending lecture may not be mandatory, but it is a good idea.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
    • Master of Science in Health Informatics
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Finance
    • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
    • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
    • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
    • Master of Arts in Economics
    • Master of Public Administration and Policy
    • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
    • Master of Science in Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Executive Leader Specialization
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path
    • Master of Science in Legal Studies
    • MS in Psychology
    • MBA
    • MS in Psychology - General Psychology
    • Master of Science in Psychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology
    • Master of Public Health
    • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
    • BS in Liberal Studies
    • BS in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Investment Career Focus Area
    • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
    • BS in Nutrition Science
    • AAS in Business Administration - Business
    • AAS in Legal Support and Services
    • AAS in Business Administration
    • AAS in Business Admin-Office Management
    • AAS in Criminal Justice
    • AAS in Accounting
    • Psychology
    • Certificate in Human Services
    • Medical Office Administration Certificate
    • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
    • Pathway to Paralegal Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
    • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
    • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Secondary Special Education and Transition Services
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
    • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
    • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics

    What is your highest level of education?

    • BA: Criminal Justice
    • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
    • BA: Liberal Studies
    • BA: Psychology
    • BA: Psychology - General
    • BS: Computer Science
    • AA: Criminal Justice
    • AA: Liberal Arts
    • AA: Business Administration
    • AA: Information Technology
    • AA: Cybersecurity

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • B.S. in Business Administration
    • B.S. in Legal Studies
    • B.S. in Business Administration / Accounting
    • B.S. in Finance
    • B.S. in Management / Entrepreneurship
    • B.S. in Management / International Management
    • A.S. in Criminal Justice
    • A.S. in Legal Studies
    • A.S. in Marketing
    • Certificate: H.R. Management

    Education Level:

    • MA in Communication
    • Master of Liberal Arts
    • MA in Science Writing
    • MS in Applied Economics
    • MS in Geographic Information Systems
    • MS in Bioinformatics

    What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?