lowza
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Hiya,

I'm an offer holder for Wadham to study English and I'm a little worried about summer reading.

I've not been sent a reading list yet, so I've gone through last years and it is massive! I'm hoping that the majority of the texts will be the same, so I've started getting some of them and I'm beginning to read them.

I think it's pretty obvious I'll be unable to get through every text by the end of the holiday - there are 3ish compulsory texts per week and then a heck load of additional reading.

I'm really just asking advice on how to tackle this. Should I just try and read all of the compulsory texts, and then the additional ones when I get there? Should I try and read all of the texts for a certain amount of term weeks (ie. do all the reading up to week 4) and then do the rest when I'm there? Should I be taking notes and highlighting etc as I read, or should I just be familiar with the texts? Should I be waiting until results day (so I know that I'm definitely in) or until I actually get my reading list to start?

I'm probably being overly worried about this, but I just feel a little overwhelmed.

Thanks X
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Kiki09
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Not an English subject but for History I think I read two books off the reading list but only once I had been sent it by college. I would say that if you want to read some of the texts because you are bored/interested in the book right now then go for it but it you haven't been sent the reading list yet then your college probably aren't expecting you to be reading from it yet! Once you have results, you should be contacted by a college parent (2nd year student) and you can ask them how much reading you should be doing really (for example in history I rarely read the whole list each week but some texts would be marked as essential).
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Hugh's Swan
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(Original post by Kiki09)
Not an English subject but for History I think I read two books off the reading list but only once I had been sent it by college. I would say that if you want to read some of the texts because you are bored/interested in the book right now then go for it but it you haven't been sent the reading list yet then your college probably aren't expecting you to be reading from it yet! Once you have results, you should be contacted by a college parent (2nd year student) and you can ask them how much reading you should be doing really (for example in history I rarely read the whole list each week but some texts would be marked as essential).
Would be very interested to know how much reading and what type you do for history specifically each week. Are you reading books cover to cover or just designated chapters- how many of those in a week? Are you reading academic articles in periodicals more or just books - how many? What might an average number of essential books be per week - asking for someone who might be applying but is a bit concerned about the volume of reading due to particular circumstances. Thank-you!
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colourtheory
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(Original post by Hugh's Swan)
Would be very interested to know how much reading and what type you do for history specifically each week. Are you reading books cover to cover or just designated chapters- how many of those in a week? Are you reading academic articles in periodicals more or just books - how many? What might an average number of essential books be per week - asking for someone who might be applying but is a bit concerned about the volume of reading due to particular circumstances. Thank-you!
I did history at Ox.... The reading lists vary in content, some weeks there are more articles, and others more books. I would typically read between 5 and 8 texts for each essay, and a mixture of articles and books - whichever seemed most relevant. In terms of reading the texts themselves, some books are entirely relevant, others have a few interesting pages, and some articles drag on and on and on and seem to offer barely anything of interest... All in all, it's a very subjective / individual process
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Parliament
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I did English at Cambridge - as you've identified, it's generally impossible to complete the reading list. This is something you'll have to get used to, I'm afraid! It's probably a good idea to read some of the harder/longer texts now; before I started I read 4 or 5 primary texts from the reading list I was sent. However, I'd recommend first waiting until you know you've got in (though I'm sure you will). Secondly, when they email you the reading list they'll almost certainly guide you as to what's best to read, and allay your fears about not being able to read everything. Thirdly, my generic piece of advice would be to bear in mind that you'll probably have to re-read anything you do read now anyway. When you get set your essays, you'll realise that the notes you took over the summer (if you took any at all) are largely useless because they weren't made with your essay question in mind, and they weren't backed up by the content you're covering in lectures/classes/tutorials. Thus, in this way summer reading is only useful for getting a sense of a work and finding bits which seem significant, so that you can navigate around the text more easily later, and find quotes a bit more quickly. Overall, as my 3 years wore on I did less and less vacation reading because I decided it wasn't very helpful since I'd just re-read everything during term anyway.
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lowza
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(Original post by Parliament)
I did English at Cambridge - as you've identified, it's generally impossible to complete the reading list. This is something you'll have to get used to, I'm afraid! It's probably a good idea to read some of the harder/longer texts now; before I started I read 4 or 5 primary texts from the reading list I was sent. However, I'd recommend first waiting until you know you've got in (though I'm sure you will). Secondly, when they email you the reading list they'll almost certainly guide you as to what's best to read, and allay your fears about not being able to read everything. Thirdly, my generic piece of advice would be to bear in mind that you'll probably have to re-read anything you do read now anyway. When you get set your essays, you'll realise that the notes you took over the summer (if you took any at all) are largely useless because they weren't made with your essay question in mind, and they weren't backed up by the content you're covering in lectures/classes/tutorials. Thus, in this way summer reading is only useful for getting a sense of a work and finding bits which seem significant, so that you can navigate around the text more easily later, and find quotes a bit more quickly. Overall, as my 3 years wore on I did less and less vacation reading because I decided it wasn't very helpful since I'd just re-read everything during term anyway.
That was super helpful - thank you! X
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