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How to Read a Textbook Effectively as a Student

During the four years of undergraduate studies, I used a particular method to tackle my readings. , Whether it was reading assigned chapters in a textbook or scholarly reviewed journal articles.

So the approach that I use is called the three-times-reading approach. . What you do is read your readings three times, and it should be once before your lecture, once after your lecture, and once before a paper project or exam.

By doing this, you are reading less as you progress. , So the first time you read, it’s going to take you the longest because you’re interacting with new content.
The second time you’re going to re-familiarize with that content, and the third time is when you are making sure that you understand the content and that you have corrected all your mistakes. misunderstandings, and that you are ready to use that content and apply it for an exam paper or project. The first thing that we’re going to tackle today is how To read a textbook with the three times reading approach.

. I apply it in this manner. The first time I read the assigned chapter or chapters in a textbook.

I would do it before the lecture. . This is going to help me prepare for what’s going to happen in the lecture and what’s going to be talked about.

When I first opened the assigned chapter, I would like to go through the intro, the chapter summary, and the key terms at the end. , Why I do this is because these sections will help me anticipate what’s happening in the chapter.

Also, this will help me connect any previous knowledge that I already have, which might save me time in the process of reading because some concepts I might already understand – very well – and it’s just a review for me. So certain sections I might be able To just skim over and scan, whereas other areas that are more unfamiliar and new would have to spend more time on.

I do this because it allows me to ask questions or come up with questions. , Maybe because some content is new. I might prepare some questions that I want to answer.

While I’m reading the textbook, after I have gone through the intro, the chapter summary, and the key terms, I like to move on to looking just skimming through the chapter headings specifically. , And why? I do that because it’s going to reinforce the primary and key concepts and questions that will appear in this specific chapter, and I can also reuse these headings.

When I am taking my notes, that will help me organize my thoughts and help me feel the flow of the textbook. , Once you have done the quick scan and skim of the chapter, I would suggest starting reading from the start of the chapter. So the first primary topic that appears, and while you’re doing this, I don’t recommend writing notes right away as you are reading.

And why I say this is because there’s a lot of filler information that authors give. There’s also some contextual information, and not all of this needs to be included in your notes. so I would suggest reading at first reviewing it in your head or reviewing it aloud and then writing concise notes, or else you’re just going to be rewriting what the textbook has said.

So, with The main sections in the chapter, certain ones will include diagrams, tables, and graphs to help give a visual form of crucial information. . I usually like to reuse these to help me study.

It’s important to keep in mind and understand these visual forms of essential information because your instructor might reuse this during the lecture to help explain concepts. And fortunately, if you don’t get it right, the instructor will Probably do a step-by-step guide through any necessary tables diagrams or graphs to help you understand the content. And the first time reading the chapter may feel dreadful, and I guess, boring, so if you do find yourself getting stuck or just not being able to focus.

Take a quick five to ten-minute break. Within this break, You can start thinking about questions that you can ask during lecture tutorials or office hours, so you’re not just sitting there doing nothing, but you are giving your brain some rest, and you are also making questions for things that you have just read.

. Of course, do not feel discouraged if you don’t seem to understand things very well during Your first time reading, because if the content is very new, it’s quite an overwhelming process, so don’t beat yourself up for it, okay.

So on to the second time of reading a textbook chapter. I would usually do this 24 to 48 hours after my lecture.

It depends on how many courses I’m taking and how busy I am. Still, this second time of reading is already going to be shorter than the first time of reading the textbook chapter because I already have information from my first read-through. The notes that I had during that first time reading and attending the lecture and taking lecture notes. So with this second read, I am only really looking specifically for things that I made mistakes on or something that I still don’t have a strong understanding of.

And by looking into these sections, I can use any background information that I already have from the first reading and the lecture to help me develop questions to get the answers that I need to prepare for more extensive assignments and exams. The third time of reading. In the textbook chapter, it’s essential to do it before your final exam.

If this chapter will be tested because Three months of a semester is quite an extended period, you might need a refresher.

Also, if you don’t have exams – and you only have a final paper or project if your topic is related to the chapter, I would also suggest rereading before doing any research or coming up with any ideas for your project. Hopefully, this video was able to help you have a better understanding of how to read a textbook.

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