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Chapter Reading

When it comes to your college level classes, chances are you're going to be doing A LOT of reading. To help you remember what exactly it is you're really reading about, I'm going to share some classic tips with you that might finally help! It can be frustrating trying to understand what in the world it is these chapters and books are really about. But it all comes down to plain old organization and note taking!

In order to help you really engage yourself in what you're reading, and help you understand, you must take notes. Your notes can be however you'd like them to be. Write notes in a fun way that will keep you alert and help you learn easier. But don't forget to make sure that you are able to read them later on, and fully understand what it was you were trying to understand. Make sure you write all the titles, page numbers and chapters next to your notes for easy reference. If you follow these tips you will find yourself understanding topics better, and it will make it a lot easier for yourself when it comes time for the big test. So remember to always write what you read and most importantly enjoy it!


ShadaeDillard's picture

Agreed on taking notes. I

Agreed on taking notes. I take notes when the professor lectures, then I come home reread the chapter and take my own notes, then I compare to see what was different, what stood out to me, and what they explained in depth. 

I color code mines and highlight-yes it is a bit more, but it helps me, i just can't look at white and black all day because I won't retain it, but color coding different things, have a different meaning of them, and when I go to study, and I have a question, I will know where to look and what I need to add or take awa from my notes.  

Always make it fun, because you will want to learn more, maybe you like to write in one color, then highlight underline terms, in one color, then star what the teacher keeps repeating, anyway to help is good. In the margine i write read: then put the page number, I also for every start of a new chapter I put a small sticky note so I don't have to flip though all those pages, it helps to separtate and it helps to go through and study for test or finals., You gave a really get idea too!

UniGeek's picture

That’s so true. As much as I

That’s so true. As much as I hate taking notes, in the classes where I took the most notes, not only did it help me understand the topics better, but I was also able to go back and re-read my notes to remind myself of things even after I’d taken the class.

I think writing things down by hand will help you to remember them better. However, in class, I prefer to be able to type up all my notes, since it’s faster for me.  The trade-off, I suppose is that what you type, you might not necessarily remember as well, but if you’re notes are well-typed and easily readable, you should be able to re-read them to discover the topic.

As for reading chapter books for class, that one’s always been difficult for me, I’m not always fond of reading so many pages. Sometimes I’ll try to see if the book is on audio, but usually I just have to pace myself. I read a little bit, reflect on what I read, read a bit more, reflect some more, and that usually helps.

To this day there are some notes that I took so thoroughly that I almost feel I could teach the class myself.

Mercer Smith's picture

Taking notes is pretty much

Taking notes is pretty much the most important thing that you could ever do in college, both when the professor is talking, and when you are doing reading. The reason that I like to take notes when I am reading, specifically if it is a long book, we are going to be having a discussion about it in class, or I know that at somepoint in the class there will be a paper, is so that I can reread the notes before class and be refreshed on the book without having to read the whole darn thing over again. Something else that I found useful was making notes at the start of each chapter of a book about what happens in that chapter. Sometimes people can be frustrated by having to move from book to notebook to book and back throughout the reading, and they just like to take notes in the margins. Although I think that is a good method and taking some notes is better than taking no notes, I also think it's important to make sure that you can find that information readily when you need to for a paper or for conversation. What I do is usually highlight the point that I find interesting in the book, and then make a note about it in my notebook. Sometimes I'll write "WC" for Word Choice or something like that, but for the most part my notes are all in a secondary book. I used to take notes pretty much only in my textbook because it was easier to carry around, though.

Jay Pineda's picture

I agree! There will always

I agree! There will always come a time in college where you would have to do a lot of reading. And we say a lot of reading in college classes, we really mean a lot! Not like in secondary school where we react like it's the end of the world when our teacher tells us to read chapters 1 -2 for the week. In college, it is normal that we read more than 5 chapters to prepare for tomorrow's quiz lol.

In times like this, we really need to think of a technique that would greatly help us. Personally, I have 2 techniques that I used every time I have to read a lot of chapters. First is taking notes while reading just like you. I believe that this is the most common way to study. Take all the important notes, write it your way, and then afterwards read the notes which you took down. It will help you understand the lesson since it is already translated into your own personal writing -- not like the way it was written in the book. Second thing I do is I highlight all the important things on the book, go all over the chapters that I need to study, and then re-read the chapters again focusing on the highlighted items.


karijunebugg's picture

Chapter Reading

Absolutely good advice here on taking notes. I find that taking notes gives me the repetition of the concepts and definitions, which makes the learning experience much easier. I have tried reading only the most important sections of my chapters but I then I always feel like I am missing something so I end up going back and reading the entire chapter. I cannot take shortcuts with my reading. I like to feel that I am getting the most I can from the courses I am taking.

Sometimes it is hard though and sometimes I will spend so much time trying to finish one chapter that I end up starting the next one later and meanwhile, class is going by and by the time the class finishes, I still have not been able to read everything required. So sometimes I will resort to skimming just to get the general idea. Then, when I need to review concepts or definitions, I will look up the section I need and refer to it, always citing my references of course!

College reading can be overwhelming; another good tip besides taking notes is to be sure you are able to read without any distractions. If you are distracted, you will not be able to absorb everything you are reading, it will just be your eyes passing over words.

Good luck, it's a challenge that I know we are all up to!

pastorTU's picture

Chapter Readings not a big note taker

For me I take very few notes in class, but I listen very intently during the class and always participate in discussion and answer questions to make sure I understand the material.

When it comes to chapter readings I never read without a highlighter and pen. The way I read is when I find something I feel of importance in the chapter I highlight it then I write notes with the pen in the margin about how it relates to rest of the chapter or questions it raised for me. I found this really helped my retention when reading. When I go back in the book and see the side margins, I found that I almost always remembered what the section was about, and could explain in it great detail. Since it’s pretty easy to do while you are reading to highlight and write a sentence or two in the margin, it makes reading less work especially if you are not a big note taker like me. Also when reviewing a chapter for a test the fact I don’t have to flip back and forth though pages of notes and the book is a big plus for me.

I know this isn't for everybody but if you don’t take any notes at all it something you could to help retain a little more.

natashac's picture

Note taking

Chapter reading is essential. I take notes. I generally open a document and make two columns on the document. One is for reading notes and the other is for lecture notes. That way I'm not trying to match up notes in a notebook, or flipping through various things. I just take my notes from reading to class and take my notes from class to match up with the reading. It helps me keep things organized. I don't have four or five entries in a notebook about the same thing this way. Instead all the notes are matched up by topic and reading.

I also spend a lot of time reading. I tried to read everything twice. The first time I highlighted and underlined. The second time I took notes. This allowed me to really focus on what the book or article was about. If you try to simply do one reading, you will miss things. 

A note on highlighting: If your entire book is highlighted, you did not do it correctly. Highlighting should be used for main ideas and supporting items. Whole paragraphs should not be highlighted or you are not going to know what information is important. You will simply think the whole paragraph is important.