How To Survive A Long Class Lecture in College

Struggling to get through your 3-hour college class? Here’s 11 tips to help you survive your long class lecture.

While pursuing your college degree, you’re likely to come across classes that are 2 to even 3-hours long.

These classes are typically upper level classes, like 3000 or 4000-level classes. And while taking a 3-hour college class seems daunting at first, there are strategies to help you survive and thrive in these lengthy college lectures.

Essentially, surviving a 3-hour class comes down to two main things: (1) choosing an engaging professor to take the class with and (2) staying actively engaged in the class.

We will expand on these two ideas with these 11 tips for surviving long college classes.

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11 tips for surviving long college lectures

1. Research your professor beforehand

A professor can easily make or break your college classroom experience, so it is important that you do some “homework” before registering for that 3-hour lecture.

The best resource for this is RateMyProfessors.com.

This website is a goldmine for knowing all the “tea” on professors at your university.

Students can write anonymous, public reviews about professors they have taken in the past to help other students weigh their options for future semesters.

Using RateMyProfessors.com, you can avoid professors who:

  • Grade harshly
  • Require attendance
  • Require you to purchase the textbook
  • Has an insane amount of group work
  • Is bad at communication
  • Changes due dates randomly
  • Reads from a PowerPoint rather than lecturing

And instead you can find professors who:

  • Actively engage with their class
  • Keeps the class material up-to-date and exciting
  • Is good at communicating
  • Understanding about student’s lives outside of the classroom
  • Provides bonus or extra credit opportunities

However, when reading reviews on RateMyProfessors.com, be aware that many reviews are biased. Meaning, students who have had really good or really bad experiences are more likely to write and submit reviews.

As a result, you may not get the entire picture about a professor, but it’s a good starting point and I’d highly recommend using it when you are planning your college class schedule each semester.

2. Bring a snack

Long classes can be a real struggle (or embarrassing) if your stomach won’t stop growling.

So be sure to pack a snack to eat during your 10 to 15-minute break or have a big meal before class.

I’d highly recommend snacks that have protein like these delicious cookie dough protein bars–they literally taste like real cookie dough!

3. Wear comfortable layers

The temperature can fluctuate during a 3-hour class lecture, so wear comfortable layers you can easily put on or take off throughout class as needed.

For all of my 3-hour class lectures, I would wear:

4. Find a friend in class

For long lectures, you’ll definitely want plan ahead and take it with a friend or make a friend or two in the class just in case you have to (1) miss a lecture, (2) have group work, or (3) study for a difficult test.

Missing a lecture in a 3-hour class is like missing a month’s worth of class material (I’m not kidding). So you need a friend who can provide you with class notes and any important announcements.

If you have group work, it’s a lot more bearable to do it with someone you know and trust in. And those friends or classmates can be great study buddies for tests or quizzes.

Longer classes tend to have more difficult course content, so having a friend or two you can study with can help you understand those harder concepts and motivate you to study.

5. Study more than usual

3-hour classes = more class material, so you’re going to be expected to take longer quizzes and tests with more questions.

That means more studying for you!

You may also like: 11 Strategies To Help Manage Test Anxiety In College

Because you are studying for longer tests, you’ll want to plan to study at least a week in advance for your tests and 3-4 days in advance for quizzes and use a time management strategy, like the Pomodoro Technique, to make your studying more tolerable and highly focused.

6. Use your break time wisely

Usually professors who teach long college classes will give you a 10 to 15-minute break halfway through class. So make sure you use this time wisely!

During this break, make sure to:

  • Use the restroom
  • Drink some water
  • Eat a snack
  • Do a lap or two around the hallway
  • Stretch
  • Check your phone

7. Grab or bring a cup of coffee

If you’re taking an early morning 3-hour lecture and want to avoid dozing off in class, I’d highly recommend bringing coffee (or tea) to class from home or ordering one from a coffee shop by or on campus before class.

Personally, it was always easier for me to order a coffee from our Starbucks on campus, but the price of $3 Starbucks coffee does add up over time!

8. Don’t schedule another long class on the same day

Long college classes can be mentally exhausting.

Especially if you happen to be taking it with a monotoned professor or, even worse, a professor who just reads from the PowerPoint slides.

To avoid dreading going to school on your long class days, try not to schedule more than one of these classes in a single day.

However, this may be difficult to do depending on your major.

So if you happen to have multiple 3-hour classes in a day, try to at least give yourself an hour break before your next class and utilize the time in between those classes to rest your brain.

9. Double check you have all your supplies prepped for class

The worst feeling in the world is coming unprepared for class.

Whether it is forgetting your scantron for a big test, a #2 pencil for that test, or even your laptop charger–forgetting to bring everything you need for a 3-hour class is never good.

You may also like: 27 Essential School Supplies for College Students

So the night before class, I’d prepare your backpack before going to bed and doing a double check before heading off to class.

10. Actively participate during the lecture

One way to make long college classes more enjoyable is to be an active and engaged learner.

By being active and engaged in the classroom, you’ll find that class time passes faster and you get to know your professor better.

However, this also means you can’t be slacking off in class scrolling through Facebook or texting your friends underneath your desk.

Instead, ask questions throughout the lecture, make quality contributions to classroom discussions, and actively contribute during group work time.

And bonus: being an engaged learner will show and your professor may offer you a position as an undergraduate research or teaching assistant. And both of these opportunities can earn you course credit and they look great on a graduate school application or job resume.

11. Utilize a website blocker

Some college professors do not allow any technology in the classroom whatsoever.

But if your professor lets you take notes or look at the lecture slides on your computer or tablet use a website blocker extension or turn your device on airplane mode to avoid getting distracted in class.

Since 3-hour classes tend to be high-stakes classes, it is important that you stay focused and engaged with the class lecture at all times.

Getting distracted may cause you to miss an important piece of information for an upcoming test or quiz.

And if you want to avoid this altogether, just bring a spiral notebook and a pen to class and take notes the “old-fashioned” way.

You may actually find yourself learning the material better by handwriting rather than typing!

Concluding thoughts on how to get through a long class

All college students are bound to endure at least one 3-hour class in their college experience.

And although nothing sounds more boring than a 3-hour lecture on a Monday morning, there are definite ways to make it more tolerable and even fun.

In today’s blog post, we discussed 11 tips for surviving a long college lecture. I hope you found these tips useful and helpful as you go about your college journey.

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