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The basics
Study abroad : Once you arrive

7 ways to pay attention in class

Always nodding off during class? Have difficulty paying attention to what’s being taught? We can help.

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We can definitely relate to the sometimes herculean effort it takes just to stay awake and pay attention in a class after a gruelling night finishing an assignment or from working, or simply the lack of sleep. For some of you, mornings are just not good.

We’ve gathered 7 tips to help you pay attention in class here.


Eat an apple

Apples contain natural sugars, fibers, carbohydrates and water to help you kick start your day. The fructose present in apples are absorbed slower than sugar in coffee. You will have a steady stream of energy while coffee just leads you to a sugar crash quickly. If you’re visiting the local cafe for your daily java, it might be a good idea to start cutting back. Both your health and wallet are better off without it.


Sit right in front

Your first instinctual reaction might be to cringe and go “no way!, that’s so lame!”. However, as daunting as it may seem, sitting in the front ensures that you won’t be tempted to check your Facebook for the latest picture of that party you went to last night. The possibility of being selected by your professor during his lecture to participate would keep you on your toes. It means that you will always complete your any assignments and do the readings required before attending class. Furthermore, it gives you an opportunity to get the professor to actually remember you. In a lecture room of more than 200 students, that personal connection is priceless. Sitting right at the front also means that you won’t be dozing off or daydreaming.


Take notes

Chances are if you’re nodding off, it means that you’re not writing anything down. It’s been proven time and again that writing things down is active listening. You hear the words said, process them and then write them down. Writing them down not only helps keep you awake, it aids in your information recall in the future. New information is processed and absorbed better as compared to simply listening.


Set a goal for yourself

You’re a psychology major stuck in a modern art class? Hate that you have to analyse a novel that you don’t even understand in the first place when you’ve always been fantastic at mathematics? No matter how much you loathe these required class, they still count towards your GPA. Write down a goal for that specific class somewhere visible before each of these classes start. This will help you feel more motivated to put in the effort needed for them. You can start small- get a better grade for the next quiz or even writing down all the things that have been discussed in the class. Once you get used to that class, you’ll find it a lot easier to cope and aim to ace that module!


Wake up early

If you’re staying on-campus and all of your classes are nearby, the option of waking up fifteen minutes before class starts might be very attractive. You get to sleep a little bit more and you don’t have to walk all that far for class. This might not be an ideal situation. Your body and brain will need time to adjust after waking up. Forcing them to work right away might make you groggy. It is also highly likely that setting your alarm might cause you to be late if you have a penchant for hitting the snooze button. You will also not have enough time for a proper breakfast. Setting your alarm about forty-five to an hour before you have to leave for class will not only give your brain time to wake itself up, you will also have time to eat.


Sit up and move around

Sitting up straight and putting on an attentive expression, can help trick your brain into thinking that you are interested in what you’re learning. Even if nothing about the topic being covered interests you, pretend that it is. Shift your position slightly, tapping your toes or rolling your shoulders can keep the blood circulating.


Grab a candy cane

The scent of peppermint increases oxygen saturation and blood pressure which increases the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your brain. The brain also needs sugar when it’s low on energy, so have a peppermint candy in your bag when you feel your mind wandering off.

Thinking of studying aborad? Check out the courses available here!


Useful links

10 universities you can study abroad in English

How to find accommodation for your year abroad

Why you should apply for a dual study-intern programme

Differences between scholarships, bursaries & grants explained

7 tips to help you write your very first resume

5 ways to improve your CV

Working and interning abroad- know your rights

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