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Tips for Reading Efficiently To Help You Survive At University!

Discussion in 'Medical Students Cafe' started by Egyptian Doctor, Jun 16, 2021.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
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    Are you an active or passive reader? Active readers use strategies aimed at building connections.* Passive readers learn in piecemeal fashion, one idea at a time.* (*Adapted from Kiewra, K. A., & Dubois, N. F. (1998). Learning to learn: Making the transition from student to lifelong learner. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.)

    How many of these sentences describe how you read?

    • I grab my text and read.
    • I start at page one and read until the end.
    • I highlight all the important information in yellow.
    • I read everything at the same speed.
    • I believe everything I read.
    • If I don’t understand something, I read it again.
    • I read and then write notes on what is in the textbook.
    • When I read, I try to memorize all the important information.
    Passive reading is ineffective and time-consuming. It can also lead to frustration and a lack of desire to continue reading.

    Active reading requires “will” and “skill” – you have to want to read, and you need to learn and use effective reading strategies.

    (*Adapted from McWhorter, K. T. (1995). College reading and study skills. New York, NY: HarperCollins.)

    1. Survey the Chapter - Your goal is to become familiar with the material, and to activate your thinking:
      - Read the title and subtitle.
      - Read the introduction or first paragraph.
      - Read each major heading.
      - Read the first sentence under each heading.
      - Read the last paragraph or the summary.
    2. Budget Time - Now based on your survey, decide how much time you will need to read the chapter.
      - Consider the length of the text, its density, and its difficulty.
      - Schedule the time in so that when you read, your goal is to understand the material.
    3. Make a Map of the Chapter - On a “sticky note,” list headings, subheadings, and terms from the chapter.
      - Writing things down will reinforce what you’ve read.
      - You can also take the list to class for reference during the lecture.

    1. Use Visual Cues
      - Let the visual layout of the textbook help you decide what to read.
      - Often, examples are indented, separated, or in italics.
      - If you understand a concept, you may not need to read all the examples provided.
      - Decide for yourself which sections of the chapter are necessary to read.
    2. Give the Information a “Title”
      - When you’ve read a paragraph, a few paragraphs, half a page, or a whole page, and you aren’t clear on what you’ve covered, give the information a “title.”
      - Write your title down and go back to confirm that it matches the information provided.
      - Otherwise, you’ll be rereading and rereading without focus or purpose.
    3. Mark the Text
      - Read with a pencil in your hand and mark important information using symbols.
      - For example, draw a box around the main theme, underline the sub-themes, and circle the details.
      - This will assist you with maintaining concentration and attention.
    Many students take notes from the textbook after they have read the chapter. The key is not to make a second set of notes that you will need to study from. Consolidate the information from the textbook with the corresponding lecture notes – then, you’ll have a complete set of notes. You can do this by adding a page, writing in the margin, or on the back of the page.

    1. Generate Representations*
      - What structure does the information “lend” itself to?
      - Can you reorganize the information into a table, flowchart, timeline, diagram, etc.?
    2. Generate a Final Summary*
      - What conclusions can you draw about what you’ve just read?
      - List the main ideas of the chapter or write a short summary.
    3. Compile Questions* - Do you have any questions about what you’ve just read?
      - Are there any gaps in the information from your notes and the textbook?

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