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Monday, February 11, 2013

College: Reading Books for Class

I'm an English minor so many of my assignments involve reading books for class. Reading books in high school is not the same as reading books in college. Oftentimes in high school there will be a certain number of chapters assigned per day, sometimes chapters may be read in class, and in my classes there will be a sort of study guide of questions to answer while reading.

College is not typically like that. Here are some tips on how to handle required novels.

Step 1: Write down deadlines 
This information may also be in the syllabus, but if it's not make sure to write it down. It makes it harder to forget and keeps it as an accessible reminder.

Step 2: If the professor assigns chapters, keep up. 
It can be really easy to say "I'll just catch up this weekend" and end up falling way behind. Don't let this happen.

Step 3: If the professor just assigns a deadline, figure out how many chapters per day have to be read and actually read that many chapters 
It's also really easy to fall behind doing this. Don't let this happen. When you're figuring out the chapters, it can also be a good idea to give yourself a few days of wriggle room. There will be some days where you will be just too busy to read, whether it's with homework or other obligations, and it's a good idea to give yourself that leeway.

Step 4: Take notes
This will be a huge help when it comes to reviewing for exams or writing papers. If you have any thoughts while reading, jot them down. There's a possibility that you might be able to use one of them as a springboard for an essay thesis.

Step 5: Use your resources
Use any resources that your professor gives you and the Internet. Use Sparknotes before you read to get a feel for the story and after as a review. Don't just use Sparknotes, however. There is no substitute for getting the information first-hand from the story. 

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