- Read their online bios. Find out what their field of expertise is. Sometimes you will get a lecturer that will be taking classes in one topic because they have to, but their real area of interest is elsewhere. This will help you to get extra help from other sources if the lecturer is not willing to get to know you and help you.
- Make an appointment to see them one-to-one early. This serves a number of purposes. It shows them that you are eager and keen to learn. It also establishes a professional relationship that may last long after you finish university. You get to know what they want and what they don't want.
- Ask them lots of questions. These are the questions that I would ask them : What is it that you want me to learn most in your course? What type of tests do you set? Do you expect a certain type of answer? Is your course knowledge-intensive? Is it application-driven? Is it calculation-driven? Is it regurgitation-expectant? Is it hands-on? Is it deductive/analytical-intensive? Is it creative-driven? Is it in-the-box or out-the-box? Is it stepping-stone material?
- Don't try to be too clever with them. They have seen hundreds, even thousands of students, and they can see the arrogant know-it-alls straight away. Don't put across an impression of someone who isn't really you. Respect them. They have way more experience than you. And you can learn a lot from them.
- Follow up your tests/assignments. After a test or assignment, follow up with them to find out what was good about it, what was bad about it. Ask them how you can improve. And then actually apply what they tell you!
- Always be respectful towards them and be honest with them. If you establish yourself as untrustworthy early on in your university/college pathway, it will stay with you all the way through. If you consistently miss pracs and other types of tutorials, you will develop a reputation as a loafer. This will haunt you all the way through your years in college. Respect your lecturers, be honest with them.
- Seek other help. Sometimes lecturers are not helpful at all, and when that is the case, then find senior students or other lecturers who will be able to help you through the year.
- Ask them about a mentoring program. I remember when I was struggling with some of the concepts in Internal Medicine, the Dean of Students assigned to me a senior medical student who met with me once or twice a week, helping me with concepts and practical advice.
If you thought your high school teachers were weird, just wait until you meet your college lecturers! I remember when my wife was in first year of her Occupational Therapy degree, I used to sit with her sometimes during her lectures. I remember her Biology 101 lecturer. He reminded us of a tortoise. And even though he used a microphone, most of the time we couldn't hear what he was saying. When they asked him to adjust the microphone, he would hold it up to his face and say loudly "Can you hear me?". Then he would let it drop and he would carry on mumbling just as before. He became The Tortoise. I had a eccentric Anatomy lecture Dr Daly. He was very good, and his antics in the lecture room were hilarious. Sometimes he would jump onto the front desk and try and make himself into the shape of the particular cell or receptor we were studying.So, how do you get to know your lecturers better in order to improve your grades? Here are seven that I found useful.