I hope that you have had a great start to the new year and are eager to relive some stress over a much needed reading week! Speaking of readings, a lot of students find it hard to read large amounts of pages and keep track of the subject by time they reach the last page. While there are readings that are very interesting to students, it can be daunting to read 100 pages on Freudian theory without daydreaming off into another dimension. In the following post, I am going to share a few tips that will help you keep your mind focused on readings and also help you get great marks in seminars. For starters, seminars are all about being prepared! The common myth is that “seminars are easy marks because you simply have to show up”. While there are teachers who do give students marks for attending seminars, instructors are looking for students to engage into course material to expand their horizons within the course. Plus, what is the point of going to a seminar and not doing all you can to get a high mark for the session!
1. Taking notes on course readings.
Trust me, I know that it may seem tedious to have to stop reading to write down a point, but writing things out can help you to get a better understanding of your readings. In addition, it is never a bad idea to arrive to seminars with a few notes because it shows your TA you’ve prepared for the session, and you have points to discuss that will ultimately help you get a higher seminar grade! There is nothing to lose!
2. Write little notes in your textbook.
I know, I know. Everyone wants to keep their textbooks extremely neat for when it comes time to resell the books. I think it’s time we move past that and start leaving little notes that will be helpful in seminars, and leading up to the exam. As an English Major, I am proud to say that I write all over my readings because it allows me to connect ideas and create a dialogue with myself that I can use to help get a better understanding of what I’m reading about.
3. Highlight important lines.
4. There is no such things as “too many sticky notes”.
Sticky notes are a fun and creative way to create simple reminders for yourself as you read, especially if you don’t like writing in your book. In addition, colourful little sticky notes are easy for the brain to remember later on!
5. Eliminate anything that could distract you from your reading.
That’s right. Print your reading out instead of reading it on your laptop or tablet. Read in places where you won’t get distracted by everything around you – your bedroom can either be the perfect place to study, or it could be the worst place. The less distractions that you have around you, the better!
6. If you don’t understand a sentence that you read, read it out loud to try to get a better understanding.
Warning: You most likely will get a few weird looks if you randomly start reading out loud, but I promise that it will work. Hearing how words flow and sound together is another great way to understand something better. In the same way that songs get stuck in your head, you can basically do that with your readings! In addition, if you have to do a reading more than once, then do it! The more you read it, the better understanding you will have of it!
Seminar readings don’t have to be the hardest thing in the world! As long as you stay focused and it done, you’ll do great badgers!