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How do you read and study efficiently at university? (current and past uni students) Watch

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    I'm a new first year student at university and I start my lectures and stuff on Tuesday but I'm anxious because I feel like I don't know how to study or read the required reading right. I desperately want to finish this year with a 'first' so please help. I'm asking any current or past uni students of their experiences and their best tips to study well.

    But first could you answer a few of my questions?
    I have a reading list for 2 of my modules and I'm not sure how to tackle them. There are sections for 'required reading' and 'further reading' - do I need to take notes from reading the passages of the books? In the 'further reading' section, there are multiple books so do I need to read all of them or just a few?

    How do I save money on textbooks? I've looked at the cost of textbooks and the sheer amount that I will need in total and it's enough to bring me high amounts of stress. I just want to buy the books that I seem to need more of and then just borrow the rest from the library and take notes from those. Is that efficient? My friend's at other unis are talking about having to pay £300+ and I just can't afford that. On a side note, what are we paying 9k a year for?

    Do I need to start revising from my very first lecture? How do I do it well?

    By the way, I'm a Sociology student so most of my time is spent in independent study.


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    1) I would take notes for all required reading and take notes from further readings you find interesting or relevant - I would read all if you want a 1st
    2) Look for them online in pdf format, just google the title + pdf. Alternatively second hand off amazon or eBay. If a different edition exists which is cheaper, email the module leader and ask if it would be ok to use the older edition. Or use the library
    3) First lectures are normally introductions and after that they will be more academic with reading. If you really want to get ahead just google scholar or library textbook something on your module to get an idea. Alternatively, use youtube for online lectures (I highly recommend UC Berkeley for a lot of courses) for great intro to uni modules
    4) Revising well - this really depends on your learning style. I like to make notes and cross reference everything with other readings. Be critical of everything you read and write - very important for a 1st*
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    Instead of taking notes as I go along, I like to use a combination of page markers, highlighter tape, and larger sticky notes to highlight important pages and sections and then I go back later to take any notes I might need. I find it quite disruptive to the process to have to keep stopping to take detailed notes - especially those that might be lengthy. I use highlighter tape instead of actual highlighters as I prefer to borrow books I need rather than buy them!

    Example from a book I just finished reading last week for a 5,000 word essay I have due in December on swim bladder disease. I used the page marker to ensure I can find the page easily later, and used the tape to highlight keywords to draw my eyes back to the right section. In other situations, if I need to make a brief note or a more detailed reminder, I just use a large square sticky note and jot it down on that and then stick it to the page too.


    Highlighter tape £1.17. Page markers 75p.

    Definitely read all required reading. I'd advise waiting until the course actually starts and racing straight to the library to see which books you can borrow instead of buy. Often I've found the library will have 3-4 copies of some books too. Alternatively you may be able to find used copies of the books cheaper. Try eBay, Amazon Market, etc. I'd try for at least one or two books from the further reading too. *

    I'd advise that you start studying as early as possible, as you'll want to get ahead on any reading even if there is nothing in your class notes that is too strenuous early in the module. Stay on top of content and make sure you understand it; re-read your notes from the previous class the night before attending to make sure your head is in the right place and that you still remember and understand the content.

    My preferred method for memorising is to re-write/re-phrase/research things I don't understand until I fully get it. Then I try to recall information via record cards: I write a question/word on the front and then put the answer or definitions on the back.
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    (Original post by sinfonietta)
    Instead of taking notes as I go along, I like to use a combination of page markers, highlighter tape, and larger sticky notes to highlight important pages and sections and then I go back later to take any notes I might need. I find it quite disruptive to the process to have to keep stopping to take detailed notes - especially those that might be lengthy. I use highlighter tape instead of actual highlighters as I prefer to borrow books I need rather than buy them!

    Example from a book I just finished reading last week for a 5,000 word essay I have due in December on swim bladder disease. I used the page marker to ensure I can find the page easily later, and used the tape to highlight keywords to draw my eyes back to the right section. In other situations, if I need to make a brief note or a more detailed reminder, I just use a large square sticky note and jot it down on that and then stick it to the page too.


    Highlighter tape £1.17. Page markers 75p.

    Definitely read all required reading. I'd advise waiting until the course actually starts and racing straight to the library to see which books you can borrow instead of buy. Often I've found the library will have 3-4 copies of some books too. Alternatively you may be able to find used copies of the books cheaper. Try eBay, Amazon Market, etc. I'd try for at least one or two books from the further reading too. *

    I'd advise that you start studying as early as possible, as you'll want to get ahead on any reading even if there is nothing in your class notes that is too strenuous early in the module. Stay on top of content and make sure you understand it; re-read your notes from the previous class the night before attending to make sure your head is in the right place and that you still remember and understand the content.

    My preferred method for memorising is to re-write/re-phrase/research things I don't understand until I fully get it. Then I try to recall information via record cards: I write a question/word on the front and then put the answer or definitions on the back.
    That was really detailed! Thank you 😊

    So is this method what you use when you want to take notes and quotes for your essays? This will also work for general notes as well?

    I am trying to get ahead of reading since I picked up some books yesterday that I don't need to be reading till about 2-3 weeks time so I can take notes from them in advance and also to ensure all the copies hadn't already been borrowed.

    Any tips on getting high marks in essays or general essay writing tips?
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    (Original post by undine_monty)
    That was really detailed! Thank you 😊

    So is this method what you use when you want to take notes and quotes for your essays? This will also work for general notes as well?

    I am trying to get ahead of reading since I picked up some books yesterday that I don't need to be reading till about 2-3 weeks time so I can take notes from them in advance and also to ensure all the copies hadn't already been borrowed.

    Any tips on getting high marks in essays or general essay writing tips?
    Anytime I'm revising I use the same methods - whether it's for an essay or an exam etc. It's just what works best for me: keeping the reading stage as brief as possible and then trying to force recall.

    For taking notes in a lecture setting, I've found it's pretty easy anyway to discern what might be necessary later vs what is unessential and doesn't need to be noted down immediately. All of my lecturers would put any PowerPoints they used in class on Moodle (or an alternative VLE e.g. Blackboard) and if they didn't I would simply email them and ask them to! That way I could print them later and take notes from them.

    For my first essay, I simply read through my univeristy's marking scheme to see just what it is they are looking for and just did my best to reach those requirements. After the first essay, I got into the habit that whenever I got an essay back I'd always read through the feedback (and make a note of it) to see what I could do better and then try to implement that into my next essay - rather than just reading it and then forgetting about it.
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    (Original post by undine_monty)
    I'm a new first year student at university and I start my lectures and stuff on Tuesday but I'm anxious because I feel like I don't know how to study or read the required reading right. I desperately want to finish this year with a 'first' so please help. I'm asking any current or past uni students of their experiences and their best tips to study well.

    But first could you answer a few of my questions?
    I have a reading list for 2 of my modules and I'm not sure how to tackle them. There are sections for 'required reading' and 'further reading' - do I need to take notes from reading the passages of the books? In the 'further reading' section, there are multiple books so do I need to read all of them or just a few?

    How do I save money on textbooks? I've looked at the cost of textbooks and the sheer amount that I will need in total and it's enough to bring me high amounts of stress. I just want to buy the books that I seem to need more of and then just borrow the rest from the library and take notes from those. Is that efficient? My friend's at other unis are talking about having to pay £300+ and I just can't afford that. On a side note, what are we paying 9k a year for?

    Do I need to start revising from my very first lecture? How do I do it well?

    By the way, I'm a Sociology student so most of my time is spent in independent study.


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    Hi I know this is an old thread but I couldn't send you a PM. Am I correct in thinking you self studied Economics at college?
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    (Original post by brainzistheword)
    Hi I know this is an old thread but I couldn't send you a PM. Am I correct in thinking you self studied Economics at college?
    I self studied my A-Levels but Economics wasn't one of the subjects I studied.
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    Have fun reading
 
 
 
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