Top Tips for Effective Reading at University and Academic English Course in Hong Kong HK SAR

Reading SKills - Improve your reading

Reading is one of the most challenging aspects of university and college life. It is also a very important skill to master in order for you to study effectively and to be able to complete all of the reading on time.

At undergraduate level there may be a pile of books a foot high to read though. However at postgraduate level the amount of reading you have to do increases sharply. Not only do you have to digest textbooks but you have also have to plough through endless research papers.

Neither of these texts are easy reading. They are information heavy and often need referral to a previous section or chapter for the meaning to be understood.

Top Tip for Effective Reading

Tip #1 – The SQ3R method

At school you learnt the 3R’s: Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic and one very good way to read effectively is to use another set of 3R’s – the SQ3R method:

*S Survey the text

Skim over the paragraph titles, topic sentences and get an overall idea of what the author is trying to convey. For research papers read through the abstract more carefully to understand what to expect later on.

*Q Change the headings into questions.

Ask “W” questions: what, why, who, when and how (okay that is an “h”!). For example change “Plant growth in the Arctic” to “Why do plants grow in the Arctic?”

*R Read

Read one section of the time whilst trying to answer the question you set yourself in the previous step. Use the Active Reading** strategies and make notes. **Active reading strategies will be detailed in the next article and make notes.

*R Recall

After you have finished try to remember as much as you can about the text. Try to summarise the meaning in your head.

*R Review

Go over your questions and see if you have answered them well. Is there anything that is still unclear? If not, perhaps write a new question.

More Top Tip for Effective Reading next time!

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