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Reading & Study Strategies

Study Smarter Not Longer

What stratgies do you use for reading & notetaking in your courses?

Comprehend More of What You Read By Using the Following Strategies:

1. Skimming - effective skimming allows you to take in the main points on a page or screen. When you skim, look for signposts to help you understand the structure of the text.

  • Textbooks usually follow a predictable outline and you can use the structure to help with your understanding.
  • Identify main ideas and key vocabulary 
    • overviews, summaries, and chapter questions; 
    • bold or italics to identify key vocabulary; 
    • headings and subheadings
    • chart, pictures, graphs, side bars 
  • Some textbooks will have less structure.
    • Look for introductory words like "First,..." or "The purpose of this article,..." 
    • Look for summary words including "In conclusion,..." or "Finally,..."
    • Chunk paragraphs to get a gist of the main ideas and overall meaning

2. Using Active Reading Strategies

  • Preview - similar to skimming. Look for clues to meaning by reading the title, headings, introduction,  summary, graphics, key words. You can also look copy right information, date of journal article, information about the author. Overall, should be able to identify what the general meaning of the text and use the structure to identify the general main points. Connect information with what you already know.
  • Ask and answer questions as you readWrite questions by turning titles, headings and sub heading into questions. Turn the main points stated in a summary into questions. Use the questions at the end of a chapter or section. Answer the questions best you can before reading and then add or modify your answers as you read. 
  • Annotate as you read. Stopping to reflect, add notes, or ask questions about what you are reading. 
  • Monitor your comprehension as you read by answering the questions you wrote down earlier or by providing a summary of sections as you read.
  • Redo & Review after you read
    • Organize your summaries, main points, key vocabulary, key questions
    • Combine textbook & class discussion notes 
    • Connect new information to previous information
    • Make graphic organizers, charts, study guides, flash cards that you can review and study easily
    • Speaking and writing activate different pathways in the brain then reading and listening - engage multiple pathways.

Note: Be strategic about when you read material. It is very useful to read before class because it helps your understanding of  the lecture and makes note taking easier.

For more information and videos go to UHMC's Start Smart College Success Guide: Academic Reading Strategies

and Start Smart College Success Guide: Notetaking


Additional Resources:

Reading Strategies

Online Reading Strategies

21 Tips for better textbook reading 

How to study more effectively for college (includes note-taking tips)