Friday, 30 October 2015

How to Remember What You Read
Many academic disciplines require students to read vast amounts of dense scholarly material in addition to keeping up with lecture notes. Just reading the required number of pages can seem next to impossible, much less remembering what you have read. Here are some proven strategies that can help you organize and remember the information.

Focus on Main Points
The first or second paragraph following a heading often contains a summary of the main points, but check other paragraphs as well. Take note of overt statements of the author’s intent, such as, “My aim is ....” Try to notice the author’s style. Are important points mentioned more often at the beginning, middle, or end of paragraphs?

Put It in Your Own Words
Put main ideas into your own words, whether saying them out loud or writing them down. If you can’t do it, you probably don’t yet understand the material. Make separate summary notes for an easy overview, and thentest yourself after each paragraph, section and chapter.

Make Full Use of Your Textbook
Don’t be afraid to write in your books—you paid for them! The value of making margin notes to enhance your learning will far outweigh the resale value of a spotless secondhand textbook.
First Read, then Underline and/or Highlight
Reading a section first will help you see key ideas and avoid underlining too much. Using different colours and symbols (in moderation!) helps categorize types of information such as definitions, important people and new concepts.
Write in the Margins. Be brief, but clear. You can jot down examples that will remind you of key ideas or your own thoughts about and reactions to the text.

Use Sticky Tabs
For future reference, bookmark important sections and ideas, labeling your tabs with key words so you won’t waste time trying to find those ideas later. You may also want to make notes about where to find related ideas, for example, “definition on p. 20.”

Read Headings
Pay attention to headings and sub-headings, which are usually clear summaries of the section. Sometimes using these headings can also be helpful in organizing your notes.

Notice Text Layout
Notice bold and italicized words, which often signify key terms or definitions. Diagrams and other visuals can also represent important concepts. Read captions!

View Chapters Holistically
Recognizing the relationship of ideas within and between each chapter will help build a more complete understanding of the material. Are the ideas organized
chronologically, by cause and effect, or in some other logical sequence?

Get Personal
If possible, connect with the material on a personal level. Some topics can elicit responses or trigger memories which can help make the material stay in your memory. The more invested you are in the material, the better your chances of retaining it.

Draw It Out
Increase your interaction with the text by turning words into diagrams and diagrams into words. While writing is a left brain activity, drawing uses the right side of your brain; therefore, doing both will store information in both brain halves as well as developing more creative thought connections. Diagrams or doodles in your notes also draw your eye to specific places on the page, saving time when you’re skimming to find a certain point. Don’t worry if you’re not Michelangelo (who is?)
—your doodling is merely a processing tool, for your eyes alone. So have a little fun! However, make sure you don’t spend too much time drawing since it can eventually lead you away from study mode by changing your brain wave activity.

Accentuate the Positive
Stay open to and positive about the text. Getting frustrated or negative will only make understanding more difficult. Take a break if necessary.

Be Flexible
Choose notetaking strategies that suit not only your own learning style but also the requirements of the subject. For example, you will need to take a different approach for a language or math course than you use for history or psychology. Let the format
of the textbook suggest a useful approach.

Review What You Read...
Immediately after you read it and within a few days before the test.
Remember that reviewing is not just skimming through the chapter, but recalling key ideas from memory. Read a heading, and then ask yourself what subheadings and important concepts are contained within before looking them up.

Anticipate the Test
Anticipate, formulate and answer your own test questions based on your review and on what your lectures have emphasized in class.

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