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How to Study Your New Textbook

If you haven’t been in school for a while, you might feel a little intimidated about going back to school.

And one fear you may have is about the amount of time you’ll need to devote to reading and studying your textbooks.

Well, here are some strategies to help you study your textbook:

Read the table of contents.
When you first get your textbook, take the time to read through your table of contents. Pay attention to the main themes you’ll be learning about, and look at how many pages you’ll be reading per chapter.

Read the introduction.
Nobody usually reads the introduction of a textbook, but you might be surprised how important the introduction might be for you. There is often advice from the authors on how to study the book, and you might also learn the authors’ intent for each lesson. At the very least, you should skim the introduction to find out what it’s important.

Look for chapter summaries.
Many books have summaries at the end of each chapter. Take the time to read the chapter summary first – before reading the chapter. This will help you focus on the “big picture” for the chapter, and it will cause you to pay attention to what’s important.

Read your syllabus with text in hand.
Pull out your syllabus and start looking for what chapters you’ll need to read. Highlight all the chapters in your table of contents, and start reading chapter summaries for the first 3 or 4 chapters you need to read. Reread those summaries again when you begin reading the chapters.

Write in your textbook.
I know it was against the rules to write in your textbook in high school, but in college you own the books. So use highlighters and write notes in the columns as you read.

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