Thanks to this blog for this quote!
Readings can be boring, confusing, and/or intimidating. Getting through them is a challenge for some, and just getting started is a burden for others. No matter how motivated you are, you’re probably asking yourself how you can do your readings more efficiently. Here are some techniques I’ve picked up over the years. Tell me what you think (and your own tips) in the comments below!
1. Read and absorb the conclusion (and subheadings)
The conclusion of a reading is all the important stuff, in short form. Before you read anything, read the conclusion to get a sense of what points the author is building up to. Another tip: also read subheadings! They’ll help you understand the main point behind every chunk of text.
2. Set a time limit
If you’re like me, it seems like your readings take an eternity to finish. Often I even zone out and stop absorbing what I’m reading altogether. You can help yourself stay motivated & on-task by setting a timer. For example, if you have 40 pages of readings, decide you will read as much as you can in 2 hours, and then move on to other things.
3. Look for concepts you’ll actually need
Course readings contain so much information, more than a final exam could ever test you on. Smart students don’t try to absorb everything, but instead they look for the info that matters. As you read, keep this question in mind: “what concepts will be important for an upcoming essay/exam?” Take it one step further by highlighting key terms (instead of whole paragraphs) for easier studying.
One last piece of advice: Patience
Reading quickly and efficiently takes practice, so here’s one last piece of advice: be patient with yourself. If you’re having a hard time at the outset, it probably means you’re doing it right.