Your professor is explaining a difficult concept and you're confused.

A skeleton from The Nightmare Before Christmas asking,

If you're shy about asking questions in public, or you're not sure how to phrase the question, there are ways to get the clarity you're looking for.

Pay Attention

Barack Obama saying,

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Listen to your professor's explanation, take notes, and write down your questions.

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Listen to what others ask. They may ask something similar or related.

Look It Up

Check the textbook, your notes, and teacher handouts, or do a quick internet search. You may find a different perspective that helps you understand the topic.

A man asking,

Ask Your Question

Now that you have a better idea of what you don't know, it's time to ask your question.

  • Wait for the right time

  • Raise your hand and wait for the professor to call on you

  • Keep your question brief and clear

  • Ask for specific information

Willy Wonka saying,

Note: If this is a virtual class, follow your professor's instructions on how to "raise your hand" and ask questions using the meeting software.

See It In Action

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Nate's calculus professor is explaining a tricky concept. Nate is really confused. He's never been good at math, so he thinks it's just him. He doesn't want to interrupt, so he just struggles through it.

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Blaire loves math, but the professor's explanation is tricky and she's not getting it. She checks her textbook and notes, and can't make sense of it. She raises her hand to ask for clarification.

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The professor finishes the explanation and notices Blaire raiseing her hand.

Professor: Yes, Blaire?

Blaire: I'm not really getting it, could you explain the part about X again?

Professor: So glad that you asked, Blaire. This is a really tricky concept, so I'm sure others have the same question. Let me try to explain it another way...[Professor explains]...Does that make sense?

Blaire: Oh! Yes, that makes more sense. Thanks!

Nate: [thinking] I'm so glad Blaire asked. I get it now. I guess it wasn't just me after all.


You have a question about what the professor is currently explaining. When's the best time to ask your question? Select all that apply.

Take Action

You have to ask me nicely


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