How to efficiently do readings and take notes at university (2nd year)?Watch
The amount of reading seems so daunting, and it seems to take me ages to read them all let alone take notes on them. And this is just the essential reading, I'm ignoring the recommended/further reading for now as I can't see myself possibly getting it all done each week.
For example, this week I have a module for which I need to do around 3 essential readings. I'm just doing one reading now, and it has about 30 pages. I've spent the past 30 minutes trying to understand, internalise and take notes on just the first like 3 pages. Is this really how long it should be taking? It feels like maybe I'm going into too much detail, but at the same time it feels like I shouldn't be skipping over anything or not taking notes on something.
And I also have 2 other modules that require similar amounts of reading for this week, plus 2 essays to be getting on with.
It wouldn't be too bad if I was just reading the readings, but I find taking notes sort of forces me to actually make sense of what I'm reading. It just takes me ages - at least the way I'm doing it.
Maybe I'm taking longer than I should, or maybe it's just been a while since I've worked this hard! Any advice would be greatly appreciated
Student life, in partnership with UEA
I fully understand what you are experiencing! I still remember how hard my second year of university was compared to my first year. As a law student I was in a similar position as you, endless weekly readings and essays. I found it particularly hard to organise the weekly workload.
Also, I found that the most time consuming aspect of exam preparation and essay writing is the process of note taking and planning. For example: I would read a case or textbook chapter once or twice to fully grasp and understand the concepts. I would then do a further reading taking notes and a final reading of the material just to make sure I didn't miss out anything. Most of my fellow students were doing the same work process which is very time consuming.
I therefore started looking for apps that would help me reduce the workload and speed up and organise the whole process.
I am currently using Google Calendar to help me with time-management and scheduling due dates and deadlines. Having all deadlines written down and easily accessible really helps me a lot! I would recommend you to have a look at note taking and reference management software that can help you improve your workflow such as Evernote.
I am currently using Zenreader as I found it to be the software with the most useful features especially regarding note taking, organisation and essay planning.
I hope that my advice will be helpful!