Are you a productive reader?

Reading is an important and often endless task in college, yet most students detest it. Why? Because they’re not productive. If reading a twenty page chapter takes you forty-five minutes, then no wonder you don’t want to do it. For most classes, there’s no way around reading, so why not make sure you’re getting the most out of it?

1. Don’t tackle too much at once.

If you’re assigned a five chapter chunk for homework, work on one chapter at a time. This doesn’t make the challenge seem endless. Also, don’t procrastinate, I know it’s hard, but if you start early and have time for breaks (a few minutes to an hour to a day), then it’s much easier.

2. Read once for main points

Skim through the reading, get all the main points, headers, bold words, everything that sticks out.

3. Take good notes.

Write down the big picture, either in an outline, a mind map, anything.

4. Read once more for details.

Once you have your notes on the important ideas, go back through and see if there’s any details you missed. Think dates, names and places, stuff that your professor might ask, but isn’t necessarily what you’d call “important” in the grand scheme of things. This is more for history, political science, and psychology classes. When you’re getting into physics or the like, this isn’t as important.

5. Study your notes.

Now that you’ve got your great notes, don’t look at the book again. If you’ve gotten the important info out of if, you don’t need it anymore. Knowing that you only have to go through your book once or twice helps.