As a student, much of your time will be spent reading. The amount of material you are expected to read can be large, and if you read everything minutely, you might not have time to read everything. Considering why you need to read the material and adjusting the intensity of your reading technique accordingly can therefore be a big help.
Before you begin reading
The first thing you should do before you start reading is to consider 2 questions:
It can be useful to relate the text you are reading to the rest of the syllabus. Is this a key text in the course, or is it secondary? It can be hard to say exactly what you want from a text, but consider if you need to learn all the concepts and theories, or if you only need to know the main points? You can also think of how you are supposed to be able to use the text at your exam. Is it important for you to understand the entire argumentation, or are you only going to use parts of the text? It can be helpful to ask your lecturer how you are expected to use the text. Do not be afraid to ask - it shows that you are interested and involved in the course.
The course syllabus often consists of various types of texts (textbooks, case studies, research articles, or technical reports). The structure and content will vary, depending on the type of text (genre). Aside from genre, ou should also consider how the text relates to your field of studies, and whether it is a fundamental text in your area, or if it presents new perspectives.
Different ways of reading
Think of reading a text as a process. Before you read, you decide the best way to read it depending on the purpose and the time available. Then you read the text. Afterwards, you spend a few minutes to rethink what you just read.
Below you will find five ways of reading a text (click the image for a larger version):
Focus you reading
When you are reading, it is important to have a good setting, to help you stay focused. Here are a few helpful tips to consider for reading:
- Remember the purpose of your reading
- Set aside time to read - decide on how long you will read
- Remember to take well-deserved breaks and clear your mind
- Drink water
- Read in a quiet atmosphere
- Consider taking notes while you are reading
- Avoid distractions (turn off the TV and Facebook, and do not check your mobile phone all the time)