Skills for doing well in a large Lecture HallPosted May 31st, 2012 by redpathb
10:00am Monday morning was my first class at Oregon State University and I had it in Milam 026. At the time I figured Milam 026 would be like a regular high school classroom with maybe 30 desks placed in rows in front of a chalkboard with room for the professor to teach. Walking into the classroom I was greeted with the dull roar of 500 other students all awake at ten in the morning ready for biology 211. Like many students who first have a class in such a large space I didn’t know what to do. Unsure of what to do I stood in the front of the room looking at the sea of people who all seemed adjusted and ready to go. As if this auditorium was a normal classroom for them and they expected nothing else. Thankfully one of my floor mates saw me and yelled me over next to her and some other students I knew. They were sitting near the front and they had saved me a spot and from then on I knew that the front of the class was where I needed to be. Yet some students do not have the same luxuries I had and might not know where to sit or how to learn in such a large classroom. Below you will find some of my tips and tricks to maximize your learning in some of our larger classrooms on campus.
Sit near the front – Teachers remember and recognize the faces of the students who sit in the front row. Now if you decided to talk and be a distraction this will not help you, but if you are attentive the professor will remember that about you and having a professor who likes you opens up so many doors from references to potential research positions.
Avoid seats on balconies – High up in the balcony it is easy to tune out your professor, forget you are in a classroom and talk to your friends. Professors do not appreciate that plus it is not a good way to learn.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions even though it’s big – Again the professors remember and recognize faces and if you are asking relevant questions that will appreciate that. Also because you are in a large classroom the odds are that someone else will have the same question.
Find a way that works for you to take notes – Some professors put their lectures online for students to print out, some only post skeleton lectures, and some just talk to you and expect you to listen and learn. Weather you work best typing notes on your computer, writing notes on paper or on printed notes from your professor; learn which way works best for you.
Arrive to class 10 minutes early – Arriving early guarantees you a good seat in the classroom as opposed to the seats in the back corners where learning is more challenging.
Always sit in the same spot for classes and tests – Studies have shown that students who stay in the same spot do better than the students who sit in different spots for tests and lectures. When you move, your body has to get used to a variety of new things that could distract you, but sitting in the same spot sets up your body to learn a specific kind of material and perform better on tests.
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