How We Pay Attention in Class

What's in our

Midterms are upon us and finals are – sadly – not that far away. Sometimes, it’s hard to focus in class when your mind is so busy and the weather is nice. How do you pay attention in this desperate time? No need to fret; your RCT is here with our tips and tricks for how keep focussed in class.


  • FIrst off, how does the RCT take notes for class?

    The general consensus: by hand. Gasp. But we are engineers; aren’t we supposed to be the most tech savvy? However, being on your phone or tablet or laptop opens you up for so many distractions that can keep with entertained.

“I take notes by hand and have different notebooks for my MWF classes and my Tu/Th classes.” – Shreya

“I love my gel pens! I generally only write notes if its an important equation, a concept, or an example problem. Derivations are less useful for me to write out. If a practice problem is from the textbook, I write the problem number down so I can refer to it later and focus more on the problem steps.” – Hannah

“I’m super traditional with note taking. I use pen and paper to take all my notes. Before tests I’ll turn my notes into outlines and spend time interacting with them. For example highlighting definitions in one color and formulas in another.” – Kelsey


  • How do they handle distractions like phones, chatty friends, emails, etc?

    Here is where technology can reward and help you stay focussed. Try apps like Hannah suggests below, use your phone’s settings like Shreya does, or put in headphones to block possible distractions like Kelsey! I personally prefer to use Google extensions that keep you from getting onto certain websites or computer features like Facebook and even your email for certain periods of time.

“I put my phone on airplane mode before class to avoid being distracted by social media” – Shreya

“Pocket Points! It is an app that gives you points for not using your phone in academic buildings, can be used toward free things (generally at local businesses). I know I am definitely guilty of sending emails during class. I would say the best way to avoid this is to NOT TAKE OUT YOUR LAPTOP. Take notes with pen and paper! You can’t text or send emails from a notebook (:” – Hannah

“I always keep my headphones in when I need to focus. It’s a good signal to people around you that you don’t want to chat. I’m terrible at avoiding emails so usually I try to avoid my phone for 45min chunks and then look at it for 10min. Sometimes I’ll put my phone on airplane mode so no one can contact me but that’s pretty rare.”

  • Our greatest tips?

In class, Shreya and Hannah have two major tips for refocussing:

  1. If a class is slow, try working on the next homework! You might even find that the professor is walking through a similar problem in lecture!
  2. Play a game with yourself and paraphrase what the professor just said is as little words as possible!

These can

Now that you are fully equipped with all the right fuel to take off during exams, stay focussed and see you at conference in ONE WEEK!! (I’m a little excited if you couldn’t tell from my last blog post.)

Stay SWAwesome,



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