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Learning much more from book than class

  1. Aug 15, 2011 #1
    Often I feel like sitting in class is pointless. Some stuff I already know from reading the book and the stuff I don't know is done too fast for me to learn anything from it. I need to look over examples and new material multiple times before getting it. Video lectures like the ones from MIT for instance are perfect, because I can watch certain parts again and again. I can't do that in real life and it feels like going to class is just wasting my time mostly. Does anyone recognize this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 15, 2011 #2
    There are probably various perspectives. For me: I go through some material before class, going to class reinforces what I know or I use the time to ask a question about the material. I know what you mean on the "watching certain parts again", because I wish I could do that.
  4. Aug 15, 2011 #3
    I felt this way about my diffeq course I took last year. I often skipped class because my prof was just a horrible lecturer. Its good to go to class though, because you can ask questions and(hopefully) get immediate answers. Also, you can find out what quizzes/tests will cover and focus your time outside of class on that material.
  5. Aug 15, 2011 #4
    The whole point of going to lecture for me is to take good notes. Most of the time I go to lecture I have never seen the material before, and I do not absorb any of it. However, once I start studying for an exam or reading over my notes before doing a problem set, many of the concepts just click.

    Going to lectures also makes me feel like I am on top of things. Once I start skipping lectures I get stressed out and feel like I am falling behind. Another great benefit of lectures is that you know what the professor has covered. That way when you study for an exam you won't be studying things which are not on the exam, which ends up saving a lot of time. You will also catch things in lectures which may be on the exam which you cannot find in the textbook prescribed for the course.

    If you don't take notes in lectures though, they pretty much are a waste of time. You will quickly forget what was covered, and at that point you would have been better off staying at home and sleeping all day.

    But that is just me, some people learn better through other methods and thus they should stick with what they feel most confident doing.
  6. Aug 16, 2011 #5
    Yes sometimes I think going to class basically involves listening to some dude yell at me for an hour and pretending to understand what he is talking about.

    But I've found that if you some idea of what's going before you go to lecture i.e. you've done even a tiny bit of reasoning through the material on your own beforehand, you can still gain understanding, and perhaps more importantly, technical facility from someone who is more knowledgeable than you (what a run-on).

    Well, unless your professor sucks.
  7. Aug 16, 2011 #6
    Most of the time I will have read up on the material before the lecture, and use it to get my professor to confirm that what I have done is right. I don't find taking notes worth the effort, as my multitasking skills are pretty limited. I prefer thinking about what the lecturer is doing, and try to find connections with other areas of interest.
  8. Aug 16, 2011 #7
    Some professors basically just read verbatim from the textbook. For those professors there is nothing more to gain from lecture that you couldn't just get from the textbook. For other professors who actually enjoy teaching and going beyond the textbook in their lectures then reading the text and paying attention in class will be very beneficial.

    Talking about the 2nd situation above:

    Without reading some of the relevant text before going into lecture you're probably going to spend most of class scrambling to understand wth the prof is talking about, writing down notes furiously, trying to understand notation or definitions etc. etc. And by doing this you might be missing out on some of the brilliant insight your prof is giving on the topic. If you had read some of the relevant text ahead of time you will understand what is being written down on the board and so you dont have to take such detailed notes. You can stop and actually listen to and absorb the knowledge spewing from your profs mouth. You will realize when something is not from the textbook and be able to jot down IMPORTANT notes instead of just jibber jabber that you could easily get from the text
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