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Study Tips: Reading Technique Part 2

Updated on August 31, 2011

Continued from part 1

Sometimes it surprises me as a student how little reading is utilized by my classmates. They complain about their scores on tests or misunderstandings about this or that in the class while freely admitting that they’ve never opened their text book, and have never even glanced at their syllabus. Some students I talk to never even bought the text book for the class. Now I can understand this issue in part, after all, every student knows that text books are a big scam. They are overpriced and hard to acquire, but they are also your best friend if you are struggling in class.

Many students are overwhelmed when they reach the college level and are told they must read fifty pages a week or more, and all for just one class! Students going full time might have hundreds of pages they need to get read every week. And all of this is made more difficult by a society that drills into children that only geeks read; that homework is the most miserable thing on earth and who really needs to turn it in anyway? I find this a slightly pitiable mindset. After all, students are paying thousands of dollars every semester to learn right? So to help people who want to re-learn how to study and get the most out of their time and money here is a list of the top 10 ways to read your text effectively.

6. Taking in-text notes

In text notes are useful because they remind you of questions you had as you read along with the teacher, you can also enter new information the teacher gives you in the relevant section of the chapter. It also helps to make notes about anything the teacher tells you will be on the test.

7. Using the index

The index can be very helpful in any class, but really helpful in science classes. You can use it to look up where names or terms appear. The back of science text books usually include a small dictionary that is really important for science classes. They can help you build a study list or prepare your own quizzes.

8. Chapter quizzes

Chapter quizzes are one of your greatest tools whether you are studying solo or in a group. Quizzing yourself as you go through the chapter is a good way to make sure you are actually paying attention to what you are reading. It keeps you from wasting your time by reading to lightly. It is a little more helpful to actually quiz as you read instead of after you read so that you are constantly tracking yourself and thinking about the material.

9. Study guides

Study guides can provide structure and focus to your reading. After reading over the study guide a student should define each term and make a list of needed review.  Use this list to look up the information in your text. Then do it again until there is nothing you don’t know.

10. Group study

In Study groups it is almost never helpful to just have everybody do individual reading together. It is a waste of time and a waste of a good group. It is important to read in a group, just not solo reading. To effectively use your group’s time and to take advantage of having study partners the best thing to do with your text book is to drill from it. First off, everybody should have done their pre-reading before coming to the group in order to have an idea of what they are covering. Preferably the group takes place after the material has been covered in class. The group should then scan the text and discus any parts that are confusing. Then the group should drill using the questions from the chapter, important terms, and their own questions.


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