Rock Valley College
Rockford, Illinois

Textbook Read & Study

How to Read and Study your Text

BEFORE, DURING, AFTER ---an efficient method for reading and studying college material.

BEFORE READING
Purpose: to activate your background knowledge, get an idea of the focus of the chapter, and set the stage for active, not passive, reading.

Preview the text chapter by doing several of the following:

  1. Read the title; think about what you already know about this topic.
  2. Read headings and subheadings; meaningfully organize the information.
  3. Analyze what might be difficult and need more study or review time; note what will be easy to learn and not require as much of your time.
  4. Formulate possible questions about key concepts, terminology, etc. that you predict will be necessary to know.
  5. Ask yourself, "Do I have a clear idea of what this chapter is all about?"

DURING READING
Purpose: to prepare the chapter for review by using an strategy while reading.

  1. Read and strategic (i.e., annotate, Basic Q) the chapter one section at a time by isolating key concepts.
  2. While strategizing, think about ideas, not words.
  3. Predict how the text information could be asked as test questions.
  4. Read actively and aggressively, with the intention of getting answers and remembering important information.
  5. Continue to ask yourself, "Am I understanding the information in this chapter? What don't I understand?" Highlight those areas where you may have questions.

AFTER READING
Purpose: to learn the information you need to know and to use rehearsal strategies to keep the material in your long term memory.

  1. Studying
    1. Designate information you will need to learn for the test.
    2. Reread your text only in the highlighted areas that were unclear.
    3. Ask questions during class discussion on the unclear concepts.
    4. Begin talk-throughs on the important information by covering the text and using your annotations or Basic Q. Check to see if you are correct.
  2. Review
    1. Make sure that you can talk through supporting details and examples about your main points. This is not rereading of your notes.
    2. Distribute your reviews over several days. Short frequent reviews are more successful than long extended reviews. Do not cram.
    3. Ask yourself, "Specifically, what information do I know very well? What information do I not know as well?"
    4. The day before the test, you should have reduced information to the point that you are concentrating on only a few areas that you do not know very well.