Created By: mtlwriterguy on September 10, 2011 Last Edited By: mtlwriterguy on April 1, 2015

Three Minute Class

Students file into class, teacher provides info-dump to move the plot forward, bell rings, students file out.

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High school students or college undergrads troop into class and sit down. The teacher or professor will provide a necessary info-dump to move the plot forward, or there will be a bit of characterization business: The main character has forgotten to do her homework because she was too busy fighting vampires, the dreamy kid isn't paying attention and can't answer the teacher's question, the bitchy rival to the heroine humiliates her in front of everyone, the super-smart but borderline-autistic kid invents cold fusion on the blackboard, etc.

As soon as the necessary business is done, the bell rings or the professor dismisses the students, usually with an admonition to read chapters 3 and 4 of the textbook for tomorrow's three minute-long class.

Related to Rule of Conservation of Detail and Moving at the Speed of Plot. Primarily a TV and movie trope for obvious reasons, though it does occasionally happen in prose fiction and comics too.


  • Virtually every episode of Buffy.
  • Virtually every episode of Veronica Mars.
  • Many episodes of Smallville.
  • Virtually every episode of classic "school" shows like Room 222, Welcome Back Kotter, Saved By The Bell, Degrassi (and all its spinoffs and sequels).
  • Episodes of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon is teaching.

  • Green Lantern has a scene like this.
  • High School Musical

Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • September 11, 2011
  • September 11, 2011
    • High School Musical, to the max. The students would just walk in to class, talk, and the bell would ring.
  • September 11, 2011
    Persona 3 and 4, video game examples. Most of the time, if you actually sit in on a lecture, it's because there's some information or foreshadowing being dropped. Justifiable in that it's a video game, who the hell wants to play a video game about actually going to class.
  • September 11, 2011
    Harry Potter's magic lessons, in both the books and the films.
  • September 11, 2011
  • September 11, 2011
    agree with Stratadrake: this is just because showing a full 40 minute class would be tedoius, boring, expensive, and nobody would see a movie or show with realistic class times. The Suspension Of Disbelief is in effect; the assumption is the class took the whole 40 mins, but we just didn't see it all on camera.
  • September 11, 2011
    Coulda sworn we already had this one. Maybe just because I saw it on some cliche list.
  • September 11, 2011
    It's been on ykttw before but I don't think it was launched, and I can't find it.
  • September 12, 2011
    I found the previous YKTTW: It was called One Minute Class.
  • September 12, 2011
  • September 12, 2011
    IMO this is a trope.
  • September 12, 2011
    The most tropable version of this is still a Subtrope of Law Of Conservation Of Detail.

    I'm on the fence. A lot of bright people think this is Law Of Conservation Of Detail, but on the other hand, this happens a lot. Almost half of Anime and Western Animation takes place in a school setting, and none of that 23 minutes is edutainment. This happens so often that the concept can be Lampshaded. (I want to say I saw this on either Invader Zim or The Simpsons).

    Anyway. Show us the best possible version of this trope, and then we'll decide if this is unique enough to be its own concept.
  • December 27, 2012
    Anyone care to work on this one?
  • December 27, 2012
    Two problems:

    • 1 Any class seen that has a cut anywhere can be this trope.
    • 2 I rarely see an In Universe reason for it.

    I see this either as Law Of Conservation Of Detail, or People Sit On Chairs. Rarely happens in real ife.
  • December 27, 2012
  • March 31, 2015
    Bump, sounds tropable
  • April 1, 2015
    Time Skip should be mentioned.
  • April 1, 2015

    I disagree.
    • Half days are often like this. By the time the teacher has taken attendance and collected homework, the shortened class is almost over, so teachers often don't teach a lesson on those days.

    It's not exactly 3 minutes, but it does fit the "show up to class only briefly and nothing interesting happens"
  • April 1, 2015
    If this was tropeworthy the examples would have context.