This may come as a revolutionary thought for some students, but class times are much more effective and worthwhile if you actually attempt to think about what is going on and what the instructor is saying. Listen closely as material is presented and then write down in your notes those concepts that are a bit tricky or difficult for you to get a grasp on. Think about what the instructor has said and how the details have been explained and then make notes in your own words. Your notes will make much more sense to you later on when you review them. In this way you avoid the temptation to try and write down everything that is said including a lot of information you have no trouble understanding and that is covered in the text. Use your note taking to help with those difficult concepts and details the instructor may offer that are not included in the text.
As you sit in class some students will be day dreaming with no idea at all of what is going on in class. Some students will be thinking about nothing. They will simply be attempting to hear every word the instructor says and write it down in their notebook. Visualize, then, the distinction we have suggested, that you listen to what the instructor says, think about what has been said and then write in your own words what you deem necessary to remember of the details. You are interested in having in your notes, that information that helps you recall and fill in the details and complete the understanding of the concepts presented.
Don't feel all alone if this concept of actually thinking in class has struck you like a bolt out of the blue. Many students sat in class during high school because they were required to do so. More than likely they never had to think much. Most high school students figured that if they went to class they would somehow absorb enough information to pass the course. In many cases they were right. Many of them who went on to college after high school had a real awakening when they sat through class during the first semester of college in the same manner they did in high school and then had to scramble with feverish study to pass the course when they found out they were not learning everything that was expected of them.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013