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Critical reading techniques

You will probably find that there is a lot of reading required for your module. Like many students, you might find that you are time-poor and you will, therefore, need to be speedy and efficient in your reading. This section will help you become an efficient reader and information processor.

Covered in this section

  • How to read efficiently
  • How to read actively in an engaged way
  • Critically processing what you read
  • 25 mins to complete this section
  • Video (3)
  • Audio (4)

Reading university texts requires a more strategic approach from that used when you read for pleasure. When you read for university you need to know why you are reading something and how to actively extract information.

Making notes is an essential part of the reading process. If you read lots of material without making notes, you'll only forget what you have read and waste your time. Having said that, you should not dive straight into reading and notetaking, instead you need first to stop and think about what you are doing. You need to adopt an efficient approach.

Make sure you are comfortable

Finding the right space and time to read in is important

  • Find a comfortable and quiet place to read, where you will not be disturbed or interrupted.
  • Study in short chunks. Most people can only concentrate for about 15-20 minutes in one go. So read for short periods and complete other study tasks in between.
  • Pause for thought occasionally. Sometimes you need to check that you understand what you are studying and revisit any parts you have found difficult.
  • Work with other students. If you are not confident that you have understood something, discuss it with other students in tutorials, self-help groups and module forums.