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How to study a chapter. Efficiently.

Updated on June 23, 2016
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It seems like this task of reading a full chapter can never be accomplished. Or if accomplished, would never be in less than 4 days. And even if accomplished, would eventually get lost in the brain.

Is it true? No, it isn’t. Because I am going to share a couple of tips with you which would not only help you finish the chapter within an hour or two but will also help you retain much of the information.

For that, you need to consciously follow the following steps:

1. Read the name of the chapter, and skim through the topics:

It is always the first step. This will help you know about the topics that are being covered and also about what you are going to study or learn. Also go through the diagrams or graphs if present. It is important to know the name of the chapter. Many people unconsciously seem to skip this part. Say a question arises (just saying): ‘Mention the conclusions that you derive from the chapter ‘Demography in terms of European Context,’ and you aren’t able to answer it because you haven’t learned the name of the chapter, then you are plain stupid. That is called hard work in the wrong direction. It happened to a friend of mine in an English exam.

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2. Use a pencil, and a highlighter:

Having a pencil in the hand always produces a certain alertness. I don’t know the science behind it, but I am sure that someone has the answer to this. Use a pencil to underline semi-important phrases and a highlighter to highlight important names, dates and places.

3. Make an introductory line for each paragraph:

Under a topic, you will find dozens of paragraphs. And after reading the entire topic, you will simply forget what each paragraph said. So the best way is to simply make an introductory line for each paragraph which will help you recall it easily when you are preparing for your exams. Also use asterisks for important paragraphs.

4. Find relations between different topics:

Everything in the chapter is in relation to each other. Try to establish that relation while you’re reading it and write it down as a small note on a sticky pad and paste that sheet to the text book. Most of my textbooks are covered with sticky notes. Immensely useful.

5. Divide the chapter into 4 parts:

Think of it like this: I will take half an hour to complete one portion, so it will take me 2 hours to complete the entire portion. If you’ve given yourself half an hour for each portion, make sure that you do everything (#2, #3 and #4) within that hour. Otherwise your time management is useless. I usually divide my chapter into two portions, and accordingly give myself 40 minutes for each and take a small gap of five minutes which I use to walk around my house. It always works for me. So try trying it, perhaps it will also work for you too.

6. Read Faster:

Many of us tend to read very slowly to make sure that we don't miss any important points. However, reading slowly distracts the mind. Your mind skips to what you are going to eat at dinner or a call that you are supposed to return or...you get the idea. However, reading fast ensures that your concentration is solely on the chapter, and nothing else. Practice the art of reading fast.

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