Before coming to LSE, I was not familiar with the lecture/seminar set up in terms of courses and how they were taught. Now, almost halfway through Lent term, I am comfortable with the lecture and seminar format and really like the different things each session offers.
Lectures are usually bigger in terms of number of students and are a great time to take notes and ask questions. During a lecture you’ll probably learn the bulk of the information you need to know for that week. Personally, I’m still a fan of pen-and-paper note taking so that’s what I tend to do during my hour and a half lectures.
Seminars on the other hand are usually a lot smaller in terms of class size, and it’s a great time to ask questions and have more in-depth discussions. It can feel a little intimidating raising your hand in a lecture of 150 people, so it’s nice to have the option to ask during a seminar. If your course requires a lot of at home reading, seminars are also the time you’ll talk about what you read at home.
Now, you shouldn’t really miss any class if you can help it, but sometimes things come up or you get sick and you can’t make it. But if you have to choose between missing a lecture or a seminar, I would definitely try to attend the seminar. Many lectures are recorded, and lecture slides posted to Moodle, but seminar discussions could be tough to catch up on. Also, many seminar professors take attendance, which is why it’s important to be there.
But at the same time, professors at LSE are really understanding and know that we are all busy humans, and sometimes things come up and sometimes we do get sick – it happens! If you do plan on missing any class, lecture or seminar, my advice would just be to communicate – let your professor know you won’t be there and book office hours if you feel like you want to discuss what you missed! After all, your LSE experience is what you make of it!