College students are often shocked to see the enormous reading assignments that some professors will assign. Even nursing students can become quickly overwhelmed when trying to sift through page after page of reading.
However, I have some good news for you: There are some “secrets” to reading more efficiently. In this article (and video), you’ll learn some simple strategies that you can use to speed through those assignments and retain more information than if you read every word on the page.
How to Read Efficiently in College
First, it’s worth noting that you don’t always have to read for every class. I’ve had many classes in which I did little more than gloss over the PowerPoint notes or lecture notes, and I got an “A” with ease.
I don’t recommend you do that for the first exams. In another article, I talked about how to start your semester strong. The takeaway is that you need to over prepare for all of the first exams. Once you do that, you’ll know which professors are easy, and which ones are difficult. You’ll also know the classes in which you can skimp on the reading assignments.
Tip #1: Read before going to class. Your syllabus will inform you about the reading assignments, so make sure to read the chapter before class, not after it. This will give you a foundation you can build on during lecture.
Tip #2: Read the chapter introduction (word for word) first, and then flip to the back and read the end of the chapter summary word for word. This will tell you the gist of the entire chapter.
Tip #3: Now begin to read the actual chapter, but not word for word. Instead, read the heading first, then read any bold or italicized words. Most textbook authors will bold or italicize the important concepts or points, and all of the other words are just “fluff” words that help illustrate or explain those terms.
Tip #4: Highlight or underline anything you feel is important, or jot down a few extra notes on your lecture notes.
Tip #5: When you find that something is confusing, go back and read that section word for word. The author’s illustrations or explanations may help to clarify a concept.
Tip #6: Have you study guide or lecture notes sitting with you. This way, you can see the parts of the text the teacher or study guide author is emphasizing, and you can read that more carefully.
Tip#7: Remember to use techniques tailored to your own learning style when reading. For example, if you are an auditory learner, repeat concepts aloud as you read them. If you’re a read/write learner, summarize what you’ve just read in your own words. If you’re a visual learner, focus on those diagrams and copy them a few times. If you’re a kinetic learner, you may enjoy pacing back and forth as you read.
Conclusion: Read Faster and Learn More!
These tips can help you to read faster and retain more information than if you just try to read everything word for word. I hope these tips will help you improve you skills as a nursing student!