How to Be a Productive Reader

Reading is an essential skill in college, but it’s one that most students detest. The average student spends 15 hours a week reading and studying for their classes. If you’re not a productive reader, that number is probably much higher. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your reading by following these tips.

How to Be a Productive Reader

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 using an outline, a mind map, or other note-taking style that works for you.

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. Dates, names, places; stuff that your professor might ask, but isn’t necessarily what you’d call “important.” 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 it, you don’t need it anymore.

What are your top reading tips? How much time do you spend studying each week?