Top tips for preparing for lectures

Now that the new academic year has begun, many of us are returning back to in person lectures or, if you are a fresher, attending your first ever lecture! Lectures are a great way to have a better understanding of the topic and you can use the notes to support you when revising or completing an assignment. If you’re not used to lectures or are unfamiliar with how best to make use of the content, I will provide you guys with some tips to help you make the most of your lectures!

Start the work ahead of time

I know it is easier said than done but once you make it a habit to start preparing for your lectures in advance, you will be able to focus on other readings rather than stressing about getting all the content down. That feeling when you leave something to the last minute and are panicking to get the work done in time for the lecture is not worth it in the grand scheme of things. What helped me improve my time management was keeping a planner so that I can plan my day and know what lectures I have to attend as well as how to utilise my free time better. If I know I have a hefty reading list to tackle before a lecture, I try to start in advance and read part of the book each day, rather than trying to read it quickly the day before the lecture.

Planner – helps you organise your day

Arrive to the lecture on time

This tip is really useful for freshers as it can be difficult to navigate around the campus and find the right building. Give yourself enough time so that if you were to get lost, you won’t have to worry about being really late for your first lecture. Also, it can be quite daunting entering a lecture theatre when you’re late. All those eyes on you as the door creaks open and having to apologise to the lecturer for being late can be quite anxiety inducing. Try and get to the lecture at least 5 minutes in advance to give yourself time to catch your breath and open your laptop or notebook.

What a typical lecture theatre looks like

Put away any distractions

A lecture is different to a traditional lesson during sixth form/college. The lecturer will typically talk for 1-2 hours, provide a detailed explanation of the topic and you will have to write notes throughout that lecture. It can be difficult to stay focused when you have other distractions around you, leading you to miss out on the content being taught. Try to switch off or put your phone away so that you can provide the lecturer your full attention and, that way, you’ll be able to make the most of your time!

Just remember, starting university or returning back to in person lectures can be quite daunting but you will definitely get the hang of things. For extra support, make sure to check out as it will provide you with more guidance on how to utilise the different resources available to support students at the University of Surrey.