How To Talk To Your Professors

Professors are here to help you learn; they are experts in their field and want to share their knowledge with you. It is the professor’s job to make sure you understand, but it is your job to tell them if you don’t. Don't wait to ask your questions; the lectures and readings will continue even if you’re not keeping up.

When is the best time to ask questions?

If you have an opportunity to ask a question in class, take it! It can seem a little intimidating to ask a question in front of your fellow classmates, but chances are you are not the only one with that question. Your classmates will be grateful that you had the courage to ask!

Many students will wait until the class is over to ask questions privately. Keep in mind that each professor is different and may or may not stay after class to answer questions.

Office Hours – this is when the professor is available to meet with students to discuss any concerns about the course. Take note of your professor’s office hours and use them.

Questions to ask about...

Course content:

Would you recommend any other course to complement this course?

How can I learn more about this subject?

Are there any additional resources that you’d recommend to help with my understanding of this course?

ALWAYS ask for clarification on anything that is unclear from the lectures or textbook readings.


What is the purpose of this assignment?

Do you have any suggestions on how to start the process?

Are you willing to look at a first draft to let me know if I’m on the right track?

What does an ‘A’ paper look like?

ALWAYS ask for clarification about the assignment – make sure you know what you’re doing!

Tests, midterms, exams:

What is the format of the test (multiple choice, long answer, short answer)?

Any tips on how to best prepare for the test?

Will you be offering a review session prior to the test?

Where and when will you be posting the grades?

ALWAYS confirm what content you will be responsible for on each test, midterm and exam.


Are you aware of any opportunities that will give me more experience in this subject?

September 3, 2013