General Question

Jude's avatar

You're in uni, they hand you a huge textbook with multiple chapters to read, how do you usually tackle the text, so that you can retain as much as possible?

Asked by Jude (32098points) September 14th, 2011

Do you just read it over once? Or, do you read it over a few times? Do you highlight the text, and make notes from what you have highlighted? Do you highlight it and read it over before an exam?

Helpful hints are needed.

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20 Answers

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

Read and notes, notes, notes…if I write something down I tend to remember it better.

jrpowell's avatar

I write down the important parts on paper. Once I write something down I tend to remember it. And I have a hand written summery of the important parts of the text to read before the test. I can’t read 400 pages of text during breakfast, but I can read twenty pages of hand written notes.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Highlight, then hand write. Read the notes out loud to yourself. Involving as many senses as you can helps to cement it. Good luck!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ll skim through the chapters to see what the general meaning is, then go back and read them carefully in detail. I make make a few notes about the major points.

tlm's avatar

First, make a plan with all important chapters.
Next, in each chapter, find 7–9 important points.
Next, anything that’s tightly related to those points.
Finally, put it all together in some readable format (I do LibO Impress presentations).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I can read fairly quickly. I underline important parts when I read and sometimes write those parts down in my own words. Every author has a way of summarizing what they’re saying every once in a while and so if I simply don’t have time, I skim and look for those summarazing statements. As I’m reading 3 books by Marx right now just for one of my courses (out of 4, next to two teaching sections and 2 part-time jobs), I am thankful that he’s very good at recapping what he just said.

missingE's avatar

I read/skim the text and then go back and make an outline. I’m at uni and regularly tutor on campus and at my old high school, and I can’t stress the importance of making outlines enough. Just highlighting isn’t enough. Outlines keep you active and engaged with the text because you’re organizing and detailing the facts and your understanding of the reading(s). It’s time consuming—but you learn more.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I take notes – it forces me to distill a large chunk of information into the main ideas most relevant to my course, and allows me to organize those ideas into a hierarchy that’s easy to see. Then I study from the notes. If there are questions at the end of the chapters, those can be helpful for retention, even if not assigned.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Briefly read the chapter. Pick out the important concepts from the bumpf (text books have lots of bumpf). Go through the sources for the important concepts (Depending on the topic text books can date incredibly fast. What was state of the art knowledge when the book was being written may be completely discredited by the time it is actually published). Try to explain the topic to someone else. This is a very good test of understanding.

Nullo's avatar

I didn’t really read my textbooks, actually; I’d just skim over the stuff we’d be doing in class, or if there was a test, or if I didn’t understand part of the lecture. Depends on the lecturer’s style. When I did knuckle down and study, I’d look for text around boldface letters, as it was common for my textbooks to emphasize key ideas in the chapter.
I did take notes in class.

Don’t look at me like that; I managed to graduate cum laude.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Handwriting notes has always helped me retain. Sometimes, I read the book sections first with a highlighter and post-its (to jot key points I want to retain later), then go back through and write the notes on paper. Other times I will just write notes as I go.

For me, it depends on the material and how well it’s “clicking” in my brain. If I get the gist of it, I’ll do notes right away. If I don’t I read, allow it to sink in a bit, then take notes.

gailcalled's avatar

If I am serious about my subject I always start with how long a block of time I need to be able to concentrate and not get distracted. Granted, there are many more seductive distractions than there used to be. (Get off fluther, f/b and similar sites, no matter how interesting the debate is about faith, hope and atheism)

But if I put myself in a quiet, comfortable surrounding, I can read and absorb, until a little voice says, “Stop. Rest. Exercise. Eat. Socialize….choose one.”

We each learn in a unique way and we discover what that is as we learn. There is also the input in class from the prof., the other students and you.

Complex ideas need time and brooding.

And if you’re working towards a graduate degree, a study group is very helpful.

I take notes, underline the text, revisit the concepts and let everything stew. That requires a leisurely pace and no last minute frantic cramming

SpatzieLover's avatar

Complex ideas need time and brooding Yes @gailcalled. That’s what I was trying to say, but you managed it better than I. With some concepts, I need to stew on the information a bit before organizing notes.

Blueroses's avatar

Many textbooks have Chapter Objectives at the beginning and Chapter Summaries at the end of sections. I start by reading those and seeing what I don’t understand. Then I can go through the chapters focusing on information that’s actually new to me.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I used to read and as something stood out to me from each paragraph, I’d note it. Some textbooks already have chapter highlights at the end of the reading and I’d compare those with what I’d written. If what I’d written wasn’t what was supposed to be the main idea, I re write a few times until the first thing in my mind was the textbook prompt.

This was my way to study and keep high grades. I can’t say it’s the best way to learn though. I like to read for pleasure so much that I’d often be irritated if what I was getting out of a text wasn’t what was pertinent come test time.

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Jude's avatar

I knocked off a third of the one text, tonight. Need to keep the momentum going. :)

SpatzieLover's avatar

Whoo-hoo! You go Girl!

Facade's avatar

I’d first read the summaries in the chapters (if there are any). Then I’d do the Q&As throughout the chapters and make sure I understood them. The Q&As normally go over the most important concepts in the text. Good luck @Jude!

skateangel's avatar

I used to just read small parts, make notes, take a break then do the same later.

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