Prof’s Questions

This article is part of the teaching tip "Five Keys to Helping Students Read Difficult Texts"

As you read, imagine you are the professor.  What would you ask? Write these questions down as you read the text.

How do you get into the professor’s head?  You have to “Read the Professor.”  Try using these G.U.E.S.S. ideas:  
  • Go to class and be ready to learn
  • Use the notes; Use questions the professor gives
  • Examine: 
  1. where the professor puts heavy emphasis in lectures, discussion, and reference to the textbook; 
  2. what questions are asked during class, past quizzes and tests; 
  3. the essential questions needed to fulfill the purposes of the course as described in the course syllabus.
  • aSk the professor what he or she wants you to be able to answer.  Ask former students about the types of questions the professor asks.
  • Start a study group and pool ideas about questions the professor may ask.
Based on what you know about the professor, guess the categories of questions he/she might ask on a test or in a class discussion about the information you are reading, (e.g., detail, recall, application, implications, analysis, synthesis, evaluation).  Then, using the text, predict specific questions within these categories.
The more you can become interested in these questions, the better.  In the long run, you are not here to please the professor, you are here for you.  Learn from this scholar to become a scholar in our own right.
Tip conributed by:
Marné B. Isakson, Ph.D. (
Developer of courses: Advanced Reading Strategies for College Success and Surviving College Reading
Author of Learn More & Read Faster: A Handbook of Advanced Reading Strategies for College Success and Surviving College Reading: A Handbook of Essential Strategies for College Success. 
For more information please contact Taylor Halverson, Teaching and Learning Consultant