How to Navigate a College Textbook

Hey Vikings!

I don’t know about ya’ll, but the amount of reading that I have this semester is intense! It seems like for every class I have over 100 pages a week and I can just never catch up. It can be really hard to balance all this reading, plus the homework, extracurricular activities, and for some of us, working and a social life as well! But, there are so many helpful ways to navigate your reading that can not only help you absorb the information better, but also get through it faster. Try using some of these hints this weekend to get a head start on next week’s reading:


  1. Read for the big ideas.

Textbooks are extremely thorough and make sure to give you a ton of information, that sometimes you just don’t need! Skip around through the chapter to the main ideas (usually bolded or headers) and read the information around those. Also, make sure to read the diagrams and examples the book may provide, there is always a ton of information hidden in there!


  1. Take detailed, but summarized notes.

No one wants to feel like their reading the textbook over and over again so make sure your notes aren’t like that! In theory, you should only have to read the textbook material once because your notes should have all the key information summarized well. It will take you much less time during finals week to read over a few pages of notes verses and entire textbook!



  1. Break up long readings into sections.

If you have over 50 pages to read for just one subject, break that up! If you try to sit through and read the entire thing you won’t truly absorb anything. Break up larger readings into 10 page sections. After every section distract yourself for a few minutes with something else, whether it be a social media break, a snack, or just highlighting and color coating your notes, get away from the text!


  1. If you professor uploads notes or a power point, compare them to your reading and add more information.

Some professors will upload their notes and powerpoints before class, if this is the case, read through their notes before the reading so you have a general idea of what the text is about. Then, write down information that will not be presented to you, only additional information and supported facts.


  1. Bring your reading with you if you know you have a odd break during the day.

You know those awkward breaks that occur in the middle of the day and you don’t feel like going home, but everyone else is busy? Those are the best times to crush some of your reading! You’d be amazing what an hour, a coffee, and a quiet place can do for you. Take advantage of these breaks so that you have more free, fun time later!



Use this weekend to take advantage of these hints for reading effectively and get a head start on week 4 of college! Nothing can compare to the feeling of being able to watch some Netflix after a class during the week because all of your work is already done! For more homework help, feel free to stop by our office in Meier Hall 100A, and have a fun, safe weekend!


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