How to Pay Attention in a Dull Class

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Dull or boring classes can be a challenge to endure, especially if you’re trying to earn a top grade. Every student experiences a dull class once in awhile, but the good news is that there are easy ways to keep yourself engaged while avoiding distractions. Coming to class prepared, striving to participate, and removing distractions like your cell phone and snacks are all strategies you can use to make it easier to pay attention.


EditKeeping Yourself Engaged

  1. Do the homework. If your professor assigns reading chapters or written exercises prior to each class, make sure you complete them before arriving to class. If you show up prepared, you’ll have a more active interest in the class because you already have a headstart on the material.[1]
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  2. Take notes. Taking notes will help you pay attention to what’s being taught, while also giving you a chance to translate the message into your own words. This can help you learn the material faster.[2]
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  3. Record the lecture. If you find that you simply can’t focus in class, or you get bored because the teaching style doesn’t suit your learning style, record the lecture so that you don’t miss important information. When you’re studying on your own, you can go back and listen to each class if needed.
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  4. Use a fidget spinner or stress ball. Some people have an easier time paying attention if they have something to do with their hands. Consider buying a fidget spinner or stress ball that will keep your hands busy, so that your mind can zone in on the lecture.[3]
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    • Be discreet when you use your fidget spinner or stress ball so that you don’t distract anyone else in the class.
  5. Draw pictures. If staring at a blackboard or taking notes while the teacher is talking makes you want to fall asleep, try doodling the lesson in a notebook. Translating concrete lessons into art might help you focus and pay attention, while providing an engaging activity that will help you prepare for the test![4]
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  6. Eat something before the class starts. If you’re attending class on an empty stomach, it’s easy to nod off or feel distracted. Try eating a modest-sized, healthy snack, like vegetables and dip, crackers and cheese, a few handfuls of almonds, or some fruit.[5]
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    • Try to stay away from sugar, caffeine, and junk food right before class. You don’t want to show up jittery from the sugar and then experience a big crash in the middle of class.
    • Don’t eat a big meal before class. You’ll feel sleepy for a nap just when class begins.
  7. Stay mentally focused. When you find your attention slipping or boredom setting in, remind yourself that learning is important and that you want to succeed. Try repeating a few motivational phrases in your head, such as “Be here now,” “Be in the moment,” and “Knowledge is power.”[6]
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  8. Maintain a positive attitude. Head into class with an optimistic attitude. If you walk inside expecting to be bored, you probably will be. Convince yourself that you’ll learn something new and interesting in each class, and pay close attention so that you do.[7]
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  9. Reward yourself. To keep yourself motivated in boring classes, give yourself a reward. For example, after every boring class you manage to pay attention in, get yourself an ice cream, go to the movies, or allow yourself some free time to be with friends. Rewards will provide incentive for you to pay attention each time you have class.[8]
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EditEngaging with Others

  1. Participate in class. It can be hard to pay attention in a boring class, but if you force yourself to participate by asking and answering questions or joining in on group discussions, you’ll stay focused.[9]
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    • Challenge yourself to ask at least 3 questions or contribute 3 discussion statements per class.
    • Engaging with your teacher and your classmates with questions and thoughts of interest to you may help steer the class in a more interesting direction.
    • Teachers and professors often reward class participation with higher grades and extra credit, so it’s worth the effort.
  2. Hire a tutor. If you find class boring, it might be because you’re having trouble understanding the material and keeping up with the work. Consider hiring a tutor or attending your teacher’s office hours to improve your understanding of what’s being taught.
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    • You’ll find class is more fun if you’re able to follow what’s going on.
  3. Join a study group. For really boring, hard classes, like chemistry or physics, strength is found in numbers. By joining a study group, you’ll meet like-minded students who probably find the class as boring as you but who are determined to do well and help keep each other accountable in class.
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    • Check your school’s bulletin boards and hallways for posts about study groups. If your class or school doesn’t have one that suits your needs, consider starting one up yourself!
  4. Talk to your teacher. If class feels like agony to you and you don’t know why, talk to your teacher about it. Be polite and open, but don’t be afraid to state your frustrations and ask for help with the material or being more engaged.
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    • If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your teacher, seek out at a TA (teacher’s assistant) or your school counselor for advice.

EditRemoving Distractions

  1. Use the restroom before class begins. It’s impossible to pay attention when you have to use the bathroom, so make a stop there before class starts.[10]
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  2. Walk in with a clear head. If you’re worried about the math test you just took or you are overwhelmed by the big history paper you were just assigned in another class, you’ll feel distracted and bored all day long. Enter your classroom with a clear head and an open mind. Don’t let outside distractions affect your ability to focus.[11]
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    • If you’re having trouble clearing your head, try writing down all the pressing things on your mind right before class starts. Having a list will help ensure you don’t forget anything and allow you to relax and focus for the next class.
  3. Turn off your cell phone. It’s easy to feel bored when there are other things you’d rather do, like text with your friends and check your Facebook feed. By turning off your phone and storing it away in your bag or desk, you won’t feel as tempted to sneak a peek and divert your attention from your class.[12]
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  4. Put away food and drinks. When you’re bored, it’s easy to grab a snack or a drink to help make the time pass more quickly, but you’re also multi-tasking and making it more difficult to stay focused. This is especially true when you need to listen and take notes at the same time. Keep food and drinks stored in your bag or locker for after class and focus all your energy into learning.[13]
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    • Even if you feel like you’re able to concentrate and eat or drink at the same time, the noise, food type, and extra movement may affect those around you, so it’s important to be courteous.[14]
  5. Get enough sleep. Being tired during class can be a huge distraction and make it hard to focus. Try to get enough sleep each night, so that you aren’t tempted to doze during class.[15]
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  6. Don’t sit next to your friends. It can be really fun to share classes with friends, but you can also distract each other if you sit too close. Spread out around the classroom so that you pay attention to the class and not each other.[16]
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  7. Do your best. School is important, but it can get boring at times. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of sitting through the class, learning and absorbing what you can, and moving on until the next boring class comes along. Don’t get discouraged over one boring class, just do your best to get through it![17]
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  • Nodding your head when listening to the professor is a great way to show that you’re paying attention and that you understand.
  • Do some research on the professors teaching the class you need to take. You may be able to find someone who fits more in line with your particular way learning.
  • Schedule classes at times you know you’ll be more alert. If you know you can’t keep your eyes open at a certain time, don’t torture yourself by putting a dull class in that time slot.
  • You can also suggest some things to your teacher that will make the class more exciting.

EditRelated wikiHows

  • Skip Class
  • Behave In Class
  • Focus on Homework
  • Win a Class Election
  • Succeed in English Class
  • Pack a Purse for Class
  • Cope With Repeating a Grade
  • Pay Attention in Class
  • Prepare For The First Day of School
  • Mentally Prepare Yourself for School

EditSources and Citations

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