Reading for enjoyment is very different than reading for the purposes of study. When you need to read something and really comprehend it, you need to employ a different strategy. Here’s how to read for the purposes of study.
First, have a highlighter pen ready. If you don’t want to use a highlighter, you can use a pen. Just make sure it’s in a contrasting color than the ink in the book. Use the highlighter or pen to highlight essential information. You can also use it to highlight something that you need to do further research on.
Next, don’t be afraid to write in the margins. Forget the old rule about never writing in a book. Remember when Harry Potter used Tom Riddle’s book in the Half Blood Prince? The margin notes made Harry Potter go to the top of his potions class. Margin notes can help you get an A in your college class, too. Make all the margin notes you want to, and include questions if they might help you to go find more information about the subject.
If it helps, you should try reading the text aloud. Sometimes reading something out loud helps you retain the information better. You could even use a funny voice or an accent to help you get into the feeling of the text. Funny enough, this can help you to understand even better. You might want to ask your roommate to leave while you do it, though.
Visualize what you just read. If you come across an abstract idea or something that’s hard to understand, visualize it. Put the book aside for a minute and try to picture what the author is saying. In many cases, pictures help us remember things better. Then, when it comes to getting tested on the material, you can just pull up that picture in your head to help you get a good grade.
Use your dictionary. Whenever you come across a word that you don’t know, don’t skim over it. Words are important. It’s essential that you understand all the words. Otherwise you might get the wrong meaning. If the sentence you’re reading has a word that you’re unfamiliar with, pause and look it up in the dictionary. Then go back and read the sentence again and make sure you really understand what it’s saying.
Use bookmarks. Another great way to read for the purposes of study is to use bookmarks. You don’t need a fancy bookmark. Just a small slip of paper will work. Insert a bookmark anyplace that’s really important, or in an area that you want to read again.
Finally, test yourself. After finishing a section or chapter, take a sheet of paper and jot down the key points. Then check to see if you’ve got them right.
Whether you’re reading to study for a college class, to pass an exam or to impress a client, these tips will help.