Article written by Sathyani Kotakadeniya, law and psychology double degree undergraduate from the Queensland University of Technology, Australia (QUT).
To effectively read course material, it is crucial to read with purpose, focus, and know what is relevant. Without doing so, you are bound to waste time and be unable to recall what you read.
Below are some tips on what to consider before, during, and after reading to complete reading tasks effectively.
Before getting started on your recommended readings, ask yourself and note down what you already know about the topic, what you are required to know, and what you don’t need to know. Knowing exactly what you need to look for will narrow down the complicated reading task.
Reading a textbook or chapters front to back is not always essential. An important part of reading is learning the strategies to extract only what you need. This can be done by using indicators to read:
For example, flip to the end and read the conclusion before reading a whole chapter. If there is no conclusion in your text, read the final paragraph because this will usually provide a summary of what the writer has discussed in detail within the chapter. Doing so will give you an overarching idea of what topics to focus on.
Also, use the following indicators for guidance:
When reading, it’s also important to question what you read, challenge the assumptions made in the text, and note important ideas, points, cases, etc.
After reading, review the notes you made from your readings and create summaries while the information is still fresh in your mind. This will assist in future reference.