As soon as you buy your textbook for a class, give yourself a head start before going to class. Read the Table of Contents, prefaces, introduction, and any other up-front material in the book. Leaf through the book and see what it contains. Read the captions, read chapter titles, and go to the back of the book to see if there is a glossary, an index, answers to quizzes given throughout the text, etc. Get familiar with your book. Treat it like a tool you want to use with proficiency. When you are ready to begin reading a chapter, don’t just plunge into your reading. Bellow is a sure way to get the most out of your reading:
Second, ask yourself questions about the subheadings.
Third, read a section of the chapter (one subheading at a time). Put the book down and ask yourself what you just read. Did you understand what it was about? Could you answer questions about it? Could you explain it to someone else? Continue reading and stopping to think about what you just read. Ask yourself questions.
Fourth, don’t skip any part of the chapter. Read the sidelines, the captions under photos, definitions, and any additional information the author has included. It’s all there to help you learn.
Sixth, outline the chapter: When you have read the chapter through, go back and take notes. Define terms, draw diagrams, and explain things in your own words. Make up memory tricks to help you remember new terms.
Seventh, draw arrows or other symbols to direct you to important details or definitions. If a word appears that you do not know, look it up and write the definition in the margin. Underline key points.
MORE TIPS FOR READING TEXTBOOKS:
Know what to read by following your syllabus or list of assignments. Never fall behind, but always stay ahead in your reading.
• Divide chapters into readable chunks. Reading ten pages at a time will seem manageable compared to reading forty pages.
• Always preview the chapter before you read.
• If your text has any practice tests, do them. Pay particular attention to the essay questions. If you can answer them, you will have a good grasp of the information in the chapter.
The key to remembering what you study is to move information from the temporary short-term memory to the long-term memory. The following are tips to help you do this. They are simple and fun to use and the results you will get will be amazing.
Try to see what you are reading. Get a feel for the subject. Make it come alive for you. If you read about insects, try to feel them wiggle in your hand and imagine sounds they might make. The more senses you use, the stronger you make the neural pathways in your brain and the better you remember the information.
Talk About It
Talk about what you're reading. Share the information with others. This helps to reinforce learning and proves whether or not you understand the information. Talk about what you are studying. The best place to do this is in a study group where you can discuss the material, quiz each other, and share information.
Review, review and review again! Go over notes, outlines and the text. Read the highlighted parts out loud. Develop a habit of regular review to move information from your short-term to your long-term memory.