Faced with a formidable reading list, it’s all too tempting to just skim through passages or worse, Google summaries of a specific work of literature or particular topic. While shortcut techniques such as these may save you on studying time, it may not help you achieve your ultimate goal, and that is, to thoroughly learn and understand the subject at hand.
The more efficient way of finishing your reading list is by applying active reading strategies. These strategies make the reading experience a more animated one by encouraging the reader to interact with the text. When you encounter an unfamiliar term, for example, instantly look for its meaning in the dictionary. When an idea hits you while reading the text, write it down on the margin. Take note of key words which would help you remember important points. Ask questions: What is the author trying to say? How would the actions of the characters affect the outcome of the story? The idea is to process the information thoroughly and not just read haphazardly.
After finishing a chapter, write a summary of it in your own words. Don’t cheat on yourself. Close the book and write in white heat. This is one way of testing whether you really understood the material or not.