In my bachelor's, our lectures were very small, and my professors know me quite well. Furthermore, due to the whole covid situation, we used teams and thus I had a somewhat informal way to just ask/discuss with my professors (to me it seems so much more innocent to just chat my professor instead of e-mailing him/her, and thus discussions were more fluid).

I'm doing my master's now in the other side of Europe, in lecture halls filled with ~100 people. My only way to communicate with my professors is to e-mail them, and this causes me some discomfort - I can't just drop an e-mail, then another one in an hour, and another one later on at night, it just feels wrong. Plus, I'm not aware if there are different expectations towards me now that I'm doing my master's.

The reason why I need to ask so many questions is that I'm now taking math classes shared with other majors (engineers, etc). Our lecture notes are often a bit (very) hand-waivey, and I just can't follow the argument. Sometimes I can't even decide if it's me that is missing something, or the professor never intended for us to follow an argument to begin with.

  • Do you have smaller group sessions with a TA?
    – Buffy
    Nov 13, 2022 at 0:35
  • 1
    Office hours are not an option? Nov 13, 2022 at 0:41
  • @Buffy Eh, I suppose there is, but I've had several questions that they also do not know the answer to, unfortunately. Nov 13, 2022 at 0:44
  • 2
    Figure out whether forming a study group with a few students is within the rules. Some places they are encouraged, actually. A group can often work out most of the issues.
    – Buffy
    Nov 13, 2022 at 1:11
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    And yes, as a graduate student you are likely supposed to figure most stuff out on your own, not be spoon-fed hints.
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 13, 2022 at 2:03

1 Answer 1


Ask your professors.

No information is as good as firsthand information, and I am sure they will gladly tell you if they prefer you asking questions during the lecture or approaching them during breaks in said lectures, visit them during office hours or drop an e-mail. They also may suggest you working out some of the answers on your own.

Actually, this is just a good communication practice overall. Ask people what they prefer and listen. Personally, I would definitely go with e-mails over a casual chat for questions, but that does not work equally well for everyone. Being considerate of different preferences never hurts.

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