Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Active Listening

Because most classes involve lectures, listening skills are critical for success in college. Listening is not merely hearing the speaker; it is comprehending what is being said and absorbing the meaning. Such intentional, careful attention is called "active listening."

Good listeners

  • sit in the front of the room
  • sit up straight
  • look at the speaker
  • react to what is being said
  • ask questions and listen to the answers
  • identify the main idea (what's the most important point of the lecture?)
  • listen for major details (what supports the main point?)
  • note the key words, especially if they are unfamiliar
  • paraphrase the information when writing it down

Poor listeners

  • allow themselves to become distracted
  • do rote (mindless) note-taking
  • emotionally reject the subject or speaker

To improve your listening skills, explore the following links:

Taking Lecture Notes

To help you better remember lecture content, record a speaker's ideas while they are being presented. Several methods are used to take good notes. The links below explain some of them.