Reading and Note Taking
Before you start reading, it is a good idea to think about why you are reading, including what you are trying to learn. Depending on those considerations, your reading approach may vary. For example:
In both cases, it is important that you don't get side-tracked and waste time on non-relevant issues.
You will not be able, nor will you be expected, to read everything (books and articles) on your reading list. Whilst you will likely have essential readings outlined in your module handbooks, finding time to read through all of the material may prove challenging.
To decide whether a book is relevant and useful:
To select useful articles from journals or research papers:
If you don't have a reading list or set reading:
There is no definitive amount of reading recommended for your assignments, as the amount you need to read will vary according to assessment criteria, module design, and course.
It is a better idea to concentrate more on the quality of the sources you decide to read and whether you are able to effectively interpret the information.
What can you do if the items you need from the library aren't available on the shelves?
Due to high usage rates, you might find it challenging to acquire a copy of certain, key texts throughout the year, but don't panic! There are a number of things you can do to access the information you need for your course.
You can also contact your Librarian to schedule an appointment if you'd like further support with finding relevant information.
At university, you will need to develop what is called active reading and note taking. This requires you to engage your brain and think about what you are reading and writing down. In-another-words you cannot just sit, read and copy from a text book or lecture slides. You need to think before you start about what you are looking at and expecting to learn.
Writing down questions you need answers for can help as it gives purpose to your reading.
Making predictions on what you may learn can help engage your brain.
Linking what knowledge you already know with new knowledge can aid understanding and develop the new knowledge.
You can re-read notes and tutor slides to aid linking to new knowledge. After reading and note taking review your notes regularly, rework them and reuse them, as this all aids building up your knowledge of the subject.
Note that actively reading and making notes this way is a skill that you learn over time. The effort needed to actively read and note take can be tiring and hard to start with, as you need to build up your reading stamina. An alternative way of accessing information is to use technology.
Tips for effective annotating and note taking:
Taking useful notes from the materials you've read will help you stay organised. Consider the following tips:
1:1 bookable appointments can be made with your Academic Skills Advisers for your subject area.
Students from Ipswich can book two appointments per week (if you are a student from the Learning Network, please contact your library) -
Appointments are scheduled in 30 minute slots.