Reading your textbooks effectively is an important part of your studies. When you begin your course you will be given a mammoth reading list. So how do you plough through each of these textbooks to make sure that you cover all of the material and retain what you have read? Few people will read textbooks unless they absolutely have to, so make the task a little easier by following these simple steps:
#1 Leave the most interesting until the last
If there are books that you think you will find really interesting or the material seems quite easy, leave them until the end. You might think it is easier to start with these, but leaving the best until last will give you determination to get through the more complex material. This will make coursework writing or preparing for exams much easier too.
#2 Start with the longest
Begin with the textbooks that are the longest or the most complex. That way you can leave yourself more time to progress through this material rather than rushing towards the end and missing crucial piece of information just to get through your reading list.
Organise your time effectively so you are not reading hours at a time which will leave you tired and less likely to retain information. Divide your time into small, manageable segments and set yourself a goal of a chapter. Scan the chapter to pull out the main concepts, ideas and topics discussed and then start reading in more detail so you understand the logical flow of the content. Effective time planning is essential as a student and how much time you need to read a chapter will depend on a number of factors such as your reading speed and technique.
#4 Identify Ideas
Textbooks are often very in depth. You are not going to absorb every concept, idea or detail contained within every chapter of the book. You have to focus on what is important. Focus on major concepts and big ideas, making sure you understand those first before reading further.
#5 Read from the back
One tip that you may find works is to read the textbook chapter by chapter, but starting at the back. Go to the summary questions at the end of the chapter and see if you can answer them, read the summary of the chapter and look at headings and sub-headings. Finally read the chapter introduction so you know what ideas, concepts and theories are being covered. This will increase your understanding and help you progress through the textbook with greater understanding.
Effective textbook reading is crucial for any student, but if you follow the above steps, the chances are reading will be more fun. The more you understand what you have read, the better you will be when it comes to fine tuning assignment writers’ skills or preparing for exams.