Efficient Reading

Whatever you are studying, you will be expected to do some reading. If you are studying informally, to improve your knowledge rather than gain a qualification, you'll probably have a look in the local bookshops or library or search online for books or articles related to your field of interest.

It's often a good idea to get recommendations from other people, either friends or colleagues or by reading online reviews at Amazon.

If you find a great many books on your topic and feel a little overwhelmed, go to researching for an assignment. f you are following a more formal course of study, you may be given a reading list at the beginning of term or when you are given the title of your assignment.

Many students panic when faced with a long list of books, but you are not expected to read them all. As the term progresses, you'll soon learn which are most important and which chapters within each book are relevant to your course.

When researching for an assignment, use the reading list as a starting point. Choose one or two books and read the back cover, the blurb, table of contents and glance through the index.

 This should give you a good overview. Then select a chapter which is relevant to your essay or topic, flick through it and read a few paragraphs at the beginning and end of the chapter. This should help you decide if the material is really relevant and if it's written in an accessible style.

Sometimes academic work can be very technical and so it's important to check that your references come from books which are at the right level for your project.

If you do decide the book is right for your essay or has the information you need to learn in order to improve your subject knowledge, check which chapters are related to your title or area of study and make notes as you read.Those of you writing essays should also take down the details of the book - author, date of publication and so on for your bibliography.

Be sure you know which system of referencing required by your college and make sure you know exactly how references and bibliography should be set out. If you aren't writing an essay but find the book useful, make a note of the title and author as you may wish to refer to it again.

Now for the interesting stuff! By introducing speedreading to your study schedule, you'll have some powerful tools to get through your college work more efficiently.

Once you know which books are right for your project, you may find you have a stack of reading and very little time in which to do it. If this is the case speed-reading can provide you with techniques and skills which will enable you to complete your assignments much more quickly.

Speedreading helps you define your purpose in reading the material at hand and also enables you to skim, scan, avoid vocalisation and avoid unnecessary reading and rereading, all of which will speed up the whole process of getting assignments done on time.

Anyone writing an essay, report or any assignment for a course needs to be aware of plagiarism, that is using someone else's writing and pretending you wrote it. This has become a major problem since the advent of the internet.

So you must be incredibly careful when referencing work, especially if it has been taken from the internet and is easily traceable by college tutors, who can use very sophisticated software - you have been warned!