Becoming an Active rather than a Passive Student

Are you a passive student? Or, are you an active student? You may be wondering what the difference is between a passive and an active student. You know the kid in the back row who does the bare minimum, rarely asks questions or participates in class discussions unless provoked, who does his or her mediocre best to just skim by? That is a passive student. Active students, on the other hand, are genuinely interested, engaged, and prepared for class discussions, examinations, and other class activities.

If you are a passive student, you may be wondering what the benefit is of being an active student. The bottom line, you might figure, is that you’re getting the work done, and no matter whether your have a 2.0 or a 4.0 you’ll likely be able to graduate if you can just cruise by. Unfortunately, colleges don’t usually take mediocre students who don’t do their best to shine and distinguish themselves from the crowd.

Active students have a greater retention rate for the information that they learn in class and read independently, outside of class. In addition, active students score much higher on tests and are generally understand concepts to a greater degree than passive students.

If you understand the benefits of being an active student and would like to change your passive ways, then consider the following tips to help you become more actively engaged in your studies.

BE PREPARED
One of the most important aspects of being an active student is preparedness. If you are unprepared for class, the likelihood is you’ll have fewer comments to make about the general discussion and less opportunities to become engaged with your teacher or your peers. Prepare adequately for class beforehand and you’ll have loads to talk about and plenty of questions to ask. You may even have answers to some of your peers’ questions that they may have overlooked or failed to take into account. Be sure you complete all your homework, reading, or other assignments. Also, take a few minutes before bed or before school the next day to review your class notes so that you will be refreshed about the material you learned in the last class, so you can build on your previous knowledge in the new classes.

ASK QUESTIONS
Asking question is a great way to become actively engaged in a conversation with your teacher or your classmates. Asking questions not only gives your peers an opportunity to voice their own concerns, questions, or opinions; it also offers you the opportunity to present innovate perspectives to your classmates. Asking questions is a win-win situation when it comes to classroom dynamics and becoming a more active student. However, asking yourself questions as you read or study alone at home can also help you become a more active student inside and outside of class. Testing yourself by asking yourself questions can provide an opportunity for you to flex your problem solving skills by looking at questions, concerns, or themes from various different angles for a more three-dimensional representation.

LISTEN ATTENTIVELY
Passive students tend to tune in and out when they are listening to a lecture. Active students are engaged in the material which is being taught to them. Listening attentively will indict to your teacher that you respect their time to speak, and that you are interested in what they have to say. Even if you’re teacher’s presentations or lectures are not at all thrilling, listening attentively will help you to decipher any clues they may leave for their students during lectures. Many professors, for example, will often repeat key phrases that tend to show up later on exams. Active students who are listening attentively have a greater probability of hearing and remembering the emphasized key points of a lecture, and are not at the mercy of their textbooks, as is the case with many lecture-driven courses.

Overall, there are many ways to become more actively engaged as a student. Do not waste your time being passive and cruising by. Take an active role in your own education and make the most of your courses by being prepared, asking questions, and listening attentively.