Best way to approach wider reading

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    Hi,

    I'm a L6 student currently taking Maths, Philosophy, Economics and EPQ (as well as AS Further Maths for fun ). I hope to apply to Oxford's PPE course, and am interested in doing wider reading both to learn more and understand the related disciplines better and to strengthen my personal statement and interview.

    What is the best way to remember points from wider reading. I'm presuming I will have read a large number of books by the end of the year! Should I write down brief summaries for each book I read? If so, how would I go about doing that with books like The Undercover Economist, which is a very broad overview?

    Should I just note down a couple of interesting points/concepts/ideas for each book?

    Any ideas would be appreciated (and if there any PPEists here, it would be particularly great to hear from you!)

    Thanks so much!
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    (Original post by petrus123)
    Hi,

    I'm a L6 student currently taking Maths, Philosophy, Economics and EPQ (as well as AS Further Maths for fun ). I hope to apply to Oxford's PPE course, and am interested in doing wider reading both to learn more and understand the related disciplines better and to strengthen my personal statement and interview.

    What is the best way to remember points from wider reading. I'm presuming I will have read a large number of books by the end of the year! Should I write down brief summaries for each book I read? If so, how would I go about doing that with books like The Undercover Economist, which is a very broad overview?

    Should I just note down a couple of interesting points/concepts/ideas for each book?

    Any ideas would be appreciated (and if there any PPEists here, it would be particularly great to hear from you!)

    Thanks so much!
    Hey! I'm applying to Oxford to do Biochemistry this year, however I still think the advice for wider reading could be used universally and is not subject specific. When I was reading each book I used to highlight anything worth noting or remembering with a pencil and then looked through the book once I finished it and made little summaries of the points I highlighted. However, I read science related books and therefore only read bits that interested me. I think for a subject such as PPE, you would need to focus on the ideas and arguments the author makes and how you feel about them: whether you support them or they are ambiguous, etc., rather than learning the factual knowledge. A vlogger JamoeMills was very useful for me when I was preparing my application, he's an Oxford PPE graduate, so he'll definitely have some useful info for you. Best of luck!
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    (Original post by JellyfishThunder)
    Hey! I'm applying to Oxford to do Biochemistry this year, however I still think the advice for wider reading could be used universally and is not subject specific. When I was reading each book I used to highlight anything worth noting or remembering with a pencil and then looked through the book once I finished it and made little summaries of the points I highlighted. However, I read science related books and therefore only read bits that interested me. I think for a subject such as PPE, you would need to focus on the ideas and arguments the author makes and how you feel about them: whether you support them or they are ambiguous, etc., rather than learning the factual knowledge. A vlogger JamoeMills was very useful for me when I was preparing my application, he's an Oxford PPE graduate, so he'll definitely have some useful info for you. Best of luck!
    Sorry for not replying for so long (patchy wifi). Thanks! I'll definitely check out that vlogger :-)
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    Does anyone else have any other ideas?
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    It's quality over quantity - you only need to mention 2/3 books. The Undercover Economist is one that is commonly mentioned, so I would avoid that. Talk about why the book you read was interesting
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    (Original post by *Interrobang*)
    It's quality over quantity - you only need to mention 2/3 books. The Undercover Economist is one that is commonly mentioned, so I would avoid that. Talk about why the book you read was interesting
    Thanks!

    So would your advice be to not worry about the 'overview' books and just to use them to get some background, then write brief notes on books that are closely related to individual topics (e.g. Behavioural Economics, Marxist political philosophy, Game Theory), possibly mentioning these in the PS?
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    (Original post by petrus123)
    Thanks!

    So would your advice be to not worry about the 'overview' books and just to use them to get some background, then write brief notes on books that are closely related to individual topics (e.g. Behavioural Economics, Marxist political philosophy, Game Theory), possibly mentioning these in the PS?
    Not necessarily. Read things that are interesting to you (and relevant to the course) - that will show through from what you read. Obviously nothing wrong with reading more than you actually mention in your PS!
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    (Original post by *Interrobang*)
    Not necessarily. Read things that are interesting to you (and relevant to the course) - that will show through from what you read. Obviously nothing wrong with reading more than you actually mention in your PS!
    Sorry, I probably didn't express myself very well. I didn't mean to say I would only read books to put them on my PS!

    I was just checking if it would be OK to not log notes of ideas/my own criticisms/etc. for the broader 'overview' books, but to do so instead only for books that go deeper into a smaller number of topics. I have heard an Oxford reading 'log' is a good idea, and I think it would help me to remember important points and ideas (which I might have read about several months before), but I wasn't sure how to summarise the content of, for example, the Undercover Economist succinctly...
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    (Original post by petrus123)
    Sorry, I probably didn't express myself very well. I didn't mean to say I would only read books to put them on my PS!

    I was just checking if it would be OK to not log notes of ideas/my own criticisms/etc. for the broader 'overview' books, but to do so instead only for books that go deeper into a smaller number of topics. I have heard an Oxford reading 'log' is a good idea, and I think it would help me to remember important points and ideas (which I might have read about several months before), but I wasn't sure how to summarise the content of, for example, the Undercover Economist succinctly...
    Even summarising ideas in a book on one subject would be difficult. Instead, focus on the aspects of the book (which might be a chapter/an idea etc) that have interested you. You might get ideas about one whole book, but it's probably quite difficult to do that for a lot (you're not necessarily going to find a whole book interesting/relevant)
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    (Original post by petrus123)
    Sorry, I probably didn't express myself very well. I didn't mean to say I would only read books to put them on my PS!

    I was just checking if it would be OK to not log notes of ideas/my own criticisms/etc. for the broader 'overview' books, but to do so instead only for books that go deeper into a smaller number of topics. I have heard an Oxford reading 'log' is a good idea, and I think it would help me to remember important points and ideas (which I might have read about several months before), but I wasn't sure how to summarise the content of, for example, the Undercover Economist succinctly...
    Even summarising ideas in a book on one subject would be difficult. Instead, focus on the aspects of the book (which might be a chapter/an idea etc) that have interested you. You might get ideas about one whole book, but it's probably quite difficult to do that for a lot (you're not necessarily going to find a whole book interesting/relevant)
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    (Original post by *Interrobang*)
    Even summarising ideas in a book on one subject would be difficult. Instead, focus on the aspects of the book (which might be a chapter/an idea etc) that have interested you. You might get ideas about one whole book, but it's probably quite difficult to do that for a lot (you're not necessarily going to find a whole book interesting/relevant)
    Thanks! So something like:
    X, by Y
    Idea 1:
    What was said?
    Brief critical analysis (opposing views).
    My opinion.
    Idea 2:
    ... (for a couple of ideas)
    Relation to subject

    for each book

    Maybe half a page per book? Just some ideas that interest me, rather than the whole book.

    Does that sound good?

    Thanks again for all the help!
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    If you own the books you're reading, then write notes in them in pencil as you go. I never read anything academic without a pencil to hand.

    I don't mean summaries of what's being said (although you could underline important bits) but just your own thoughts: Do you disagree with one of the points being made? What assumptions are at work? Is something relevant to another book you read? Is there something currently in the news that illustrates the point? Does one of the ideas lead you to reconsider something else you thought was true?

    Then when you've finished the book (or chapter if it's a long or difficult book that's taking a long time to read) go back and have a look at what you've written, think some more about it, and if anything comes to you, write something. But I think it's important to still enjoy reading, and not get too hung up on keeping a record of it.
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    (Original post by Estreth)
    If you own the books you're reading, then write notes in them in pencil as you go. I never read anything academic without a pencil to hand.

    I don't mean summaries of what's being said (although you could underline important bits) but just your own thoughts: Do you disagree with one of the points being made? What assumptions are at work? Is something relevant to another book you read? Is there something currently in the news that illustrates the point? Does one of the ideas lead you to reconsider something else you thought was true?

    Then when you've finished the book (or chapter if it's a long or difficult book that's taking a long time to read) go back and have a look at what you've written, think some more about it, and if anything comes to you, write something. But I think it's important to still enjoy reading, and not get too hung up on keeping a record of it.
    OK :-) I'm still going to enjoy reading - a lot :-D - I just wanted to figure out the best method for doing it effectively!

    Thanks again!
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    (Original post by petrus123)
    Thanks! So something like:
    X, by Y
    Idea 1:
    What was said?
    Brief critical analysis (opposing views).
    My opinion.
    Idea 2:
    ... (for a couple of ideas)
    Relation to subject

    for each book

    Maybe half a page per book? Just some ideas that interest me, rather than the whole book.

    Does that sound good?

    Thanks again for all the help!
    That could work, altho it seems like it's quite a lot of detail! One thing I would add is the page number for the particular ideas/whatever
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    (Original post by *Interrobang*)
    That could work, altho it seems like it's quite a lot of detail! One thing I would add is the page number for the particular ideas/whatever
    Great idea about page numbers! It's just the sort of thing I would forget to do...
 
 
 
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