With exams fast approaching, the thought of having to read and understand countless pages of material from your textbooks can seem a daunting. However, textbooks are a great tool for supplementing the material that is presented to you in your classes. This blog post will provide you with three tips that will make your note-taking process a bit easier. 

Be an active reader

Active reading is the process where the student engages with the material being read. Simply reading the words on a page may not be an effective way to understand and recall the content. But in trying to engage with the material and connect it to previously studied concepts or examples, you are more likely to be able to recall the material at a later date.

Here are a few strategies that can help you stay engaged with the material you are reading:

  1. Highlighting important information
  2. Asking yourself questions as you go through the material to ensure that you understand what you are reading
  3. Connecting the concepts you study with real world examples

Focus on areas emphasized in your classes

This is a tip I utilize every time I have to make study notes from very lengthy readings. When you are assigned a 50-page reading for example, the chances of you getting tested on every single detail from those 50 pages is pretty slim. But being able to determine which areas you should spend more time focusing on can be very helpful. What I do is that I try to recall all the concepts the lecturer spent more time explaining, the concepts that were bolded or underlined on the lecturer’s slides, or any other concept that seemed important. As I read through each chapter of the textbook, I mainly focus on those areas.

Try to write things out in your own words

When creating study notes from your textbook, it can be very useful to write everything down in our own words. This is a great way to see if you truly understand the material you are reading. Try to come up with a few examples, if possible, of the concepts you just studied. This will make it easier to understand the material when you revisit it at a later date, as everything was written in your own words and in a manner that made sense to you.

I hope you find these tips helpful as you continue to prepare for your finals. Happy studying!

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