Are essential readings really essential?

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Anonymous #1
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Are essential readings really essential? I am trying but they are very long and so many pages they assign to us over many modules... is it bad that I don't do some? And only look when it is necessary aka an assignment is due? I'm a first-year, pls help
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MidgetFever
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What is it you're studying?

In my experience they are, a lot of the articles I'd been assigned as essential reading expand on and help to explain a lot of the topics that are briefly touched on in lectures. Usually lectures are used as an overview to briefly mention the key topics and it's expected of you to go away and read and actually understand these concepts. There had been times where I'd skipped out on essential reading and had really not understood something as well as I should have done.

If you're studying an essay based topic, I really would just do the reading early on and as it's assigned to you since it's really easy to fall behind once you've got several essays to write. You'll be wasting time still reading up on the basic topics that you should be seeking to deepen by this point.
Last edited by MidgetFever; 1 month ago
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mike23mike
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You can get by doing what you are doing. During the next break pick up some books from the library on study skills and reading skills. It will help. A few quick tips:

- When reading a book chapter read the intro and conclusion because they summarise the chapter for you.
- When reading a book chapter do not dive in and begin reading. Take a helicopter approach and skim through the chapter and note down the headings and subheadings on a blank piece of paper - leave gaps. This will be your chapter template. Then when reading a particular section immediately make a 1-paragraph summary of the key points you picked up from that section on the template you have created. Just what you recall, not an accurate summary of the section. This form of active reading will help you remember the chapter themes.
- for speed reading, only read the first line of each paragraph; the first line summaries what the rest of the paragraph is about.
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gjd800
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(Original post by mike23mike)
You can get by doing what you are doing. During the next break pick up some books from the library on study skills and reading skills. It will help. A few quick tips:

- When reading a book chapter read the intro and conclusion because they summarise the chapter for you.
- When reading a book chapter do not dive in and begin reading. Take a helicopter approach and skim through the chapter and note down the headings and subheadings on a blank piece of paper - leave gaps. This will be your chapter template. Then when reading a particular section immediately make a 1-paragraph summary of the key points you picked up from that section on the template you have created. Just what you recall, not an accurate summary of the section. This form of active reading will help you remember the chapter themes.
- for speed reading, only read the first line of each paragraph; the first line summaries what the rest of the paragraph is about.
Solid advice. Once you've got this down, you will pick up a knack for honing on what is relevant to you. You can always go back for more detail.
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University of Portsmouth Student Rep
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Are essential readings really essential? I am trying but they are very long and so many pages they assign to us over many modules... is it bad that I don't do some? And only look when it is necessary aka an assignment is due? I'm a first-year, pls help
Hiya!

I try to complete the reading but sometimes a large amount can be set! I prioritise reading the recommended readings that
a. contribute to an assignment I am writing
b. is on a topic i don't understand from the lecture material, or on something that I want to learn more about.
This way i finish readings that will aid my assignments and on topics where I am struggling.

After these are completed I can try catch up gradually!

Sam- Official Student Rep
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University of Liverpool Student Rep
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Hi there,

I think it’s a good idea to get into the practice of doing the essential reading, it’ll come in handy later on down the line. But, I do understand your pain of long – lengthy texts! However with experience, the ability to skim read and pick out the essential points will become second nature to you.
So, my advice would be to stick with it! They will give you a wider perspective on the issue at hand, and will hopefully deepen your knowledge!

Ana
University of Liverpool Rep.
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University of Strathclyde Student Ambassador
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Are essential readings really essential? I am trying but they are very long and so many pages they assign to us over many modules... is it bad that I don't do some? And only look when it is necessary aka an assignment is due? I'm a first-year, pls help
Hey Anonymous

I usually stick to looking at the core readings or required readings as those textbooks help me to get the basic information about a topic and lecturers have recommended them. How are your friends getting on with their assignments? My friends and I always found it useful splitting the readings up for our courses and sharing our notes on what we had read. This allowed me to go back and skim read the text as I already had notes on the topic.

Hope this helps

Melissa- Student Ambassador
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by MidgetFever)
What is it you're studying?

In my experience they are, a lot of the articles I'd been assigned as essential reading expand on and help to explain a lot of the topics that are briefly touched on in lectures. Usually lectures are used as an overview to briefly mention the key topics and it's expected of you to go away and read and actually understand these concepts. There had been times where I'd skipped out on essential reading and had really not understood something as well as I should have done.

If you're studying an essay based topic, I really would just do the reading early on and as it's assigned to you since it's really easy to fall behind once you've got several essays to write. You'll be wasting time still reading up on the basic topics that you should be seeking to deepen by this point.
Helloo and sorry for my incredibly late response, and i am studying psychology. I can say that there is a vast majority of things since coming that i have very little/insecure understanding in. I dont do every reading every week but try to, and there are some modules ive kept up with and some that I havent. Thank you for your advice as I will certainly aim to keep on top of things from now on and heading into year 2!
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by University of Portsmouth Student Rep)
Hiya!

I try to complete the reading but sometimes a large amount can be set! I prioritise reading the recommended readings that
a. contribute to an assignment I am writing
b. is on a topic i don't understand from the lecture material, or on something that I want to learn more about.
This way i finish readings that will aid my assignments and on topics where I am struggling.

After these are completed I can try catch up gradually!

Sam- Official Student Rep
Thank you Sam! This helped a lot. I will aim to focus more on things that I dont understand from my lectures
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by University of Strathclyde Student Ambassador)
Hey Anonymous

I usually stick to looking at the core readings or required readings as those textbooks help me to get the basic information about a topic and lecturers have recommended them. How are your friends getting on with their assignments? My friends and I always found it useful splitting the readings up for our courses and sharing our notes on what we had read. This allowed me to go back and skim read the text as I already had notes on the topic.

Hope this helps

Melissa- Student Ambassador
Hi Melissa! Thank you so much for your response. Sadly I havent made any friends yet but I could try ask a coursemate if they want to try that technique! It seems very effective
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