How to Stay Focused During a Lecture

I know, sometimes staying alert in class can almost seem impossible. Whether it be from not getting enough sleep to thinking about other responsibilities, it’s hard to follow a lecture. However, there are several behaviors that are simple and effective at staying focused in class. I’ve learned to use these habits to become a better student.

Take Notes

You’ve heard this before, but it’s super important if you need to pay attention. Listen for key points or anything that’s worth writing down. If you need more motivation to take notes, make it a goal by the end of each class to have a certain amount of key points written down. Of course, it depends on the density of the topic but start with having at least ten important points in your notes by the end of each class.

Follow Along

If the professor provides the power point or any notes from the lecture online, take full advantage! Those resources are being given to you for a reason and the professor wants you to succeed. During class, pull out the lecture notes from your device or print them out at home. Highlight all key points during the lecture and stay consistent with the professor’s speed as he or she explains the information. If the professor goes into greater detail than what is on the lecture notes, keep a pen handy in case you need to take notes in the margins. This is also a great way to practice your listening skills. Focus on what the professor is saying and avoid distractions.

Identify the Relevance and Ask Questions

Try and think of how the information from the lecture is relevant, no matter what the topic is. Ask yourself, “how is this still relevant today?” or “how does this information affect me or my life?” Connecting with the information through relevance to you or the world in general will help you better understand the material. You’ll be thinking about it thoroughly and efficiently rather than just hoping your brain will absorb the information.

Asking questions and receiving clarification is super important. If you’re confused about something, don’t be afraid to ask. Chances are, other students may be confused about the same thing. If you take the action and ask the questions that others are thinking as well, you’ll not only be benefiting yourself but others around you. Keep track of any questions you have by writing them down in your notes and if necessary, ask your professor after class. Professors love seeing students raise their hands since that suggests interest and curiosity in what he or she is teaching.

Keep a Good Posture

Aside from taking notes and following along, sitting up straight and looking forward will improve your attention. Avoid slouching in your seat and keeping your head in your hands. These kinds of postures will only make you sleepy instead of engaged. Focus on having a straight back and keep your attention towards the professor. This will also show the professor that you stand out and are fully engaged in his or her class. It may be challenging to maintain a straight posture for a two hour or longer class. However, whenever you catch yourself slouching or wanting to rest your head, don’t do it! Having a straight posture will also improve your mood throughout the class and the day ahead.

It’s common for students to zone out during a lecture and miss important information. By putting these behaviors into action, you’ll be able to stay focused and better understand the material.

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