What is a Recitation Class?

In college, you’ll encounter several types of courses—lectures, seminars, labs, and recitations, to name just a few. A recitation class is often a subset of a lecture-style course, and you’ll take it in conjunction with the larger class. When understanding this type of course, it’s important to note that a recitation class involves a small class size, promotes interactive learning opportunities, and allows for personalized interactions with the professor or teaching assistant.

Looking to gain a better understanding of the styles of courses you’ll face in college? Keep reading to learn more about recitation classes.

Recitation classes promote an intimate learning experience

Lecture courses, by nature, are designed to teach many students at once. This can mean, however, that some students’ academic needs may not be fully met. The aim of a recitation course is to address this gap. Recitation classes (sometimes called recitation sections) allow students to learn and review the material in a small group environment. This often fosters confidence in students to participate and ask questions in the class, without the pressure of a large audience.

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Recitation classes incorporate interactive elements

Recitation classes are designed to review the material covered throughout the course in an in-depth manner. You’ll have the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned to different scenarios and discover the taught concepts in greater detail. Depending on the subject of your recitation class, your course may include the following:

  • Working together to solve problems as a class.

  • Engaging in group activities and projects.

  • Participating in in-depth discussions revolving around the taught concepts.

Regardless, you’ll be able to engage more with ideas and concepts from your class, as well as with your peers, in order to produce an interactive and engaging environment.

Recitation classes allow for individualized time with the professor or teaching assistant

In a lecture class, it can be difficult to connect with your professor on a personal level due to the number of students in the course. A recitation class allows you increased face-to-face time with whomever is leading the class, whether this is the professor or a teaching assistant. Recitations are a great chance to build a relationship with the instructor, especially if the class is part of your major. Be present and prepared for class in order to make the most of your time with the instructor.

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Recitation classes include a variety of quizzes and assignments

Depending on the class requirements, there may be quizzes and homework assigned during or for the recitation class. This is a great opportunity to garner more points for the course and expand your knowledge of specific concepts. Stay on top of readings and assignments so you can do your best on quizzes and homework.

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Recitations are an excellent way for instructors to get to know you and your needs as a student, and for you to engage with the material in a more interactive environment. At the beginning of the semester, make sure you’re clear on the attendance policy and where recitation meets, as they are likely different from the larger lecture class.


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