How to get through your reading list

How to get through your reading list

If you’re a humanities or literature student, your subject is going to be heavily based on reading. Even though you have (probably) settled in by now, you might have a few questions regarding how to get through your large reading list.

There is no real answer to this question, however, there are a few things that you might want to consider. A few tips that have helped me get through my immense reading list.

How to get through your reading list

Aim for a minimum amount

First, try to aim for at least 2 readings per modules. So that’s about 8 readings per week – assuming that you are taking 4 modules per semester. This will hopefully give you enough understanding for the weeks topic. Of course, do more if you can but use this as a rough guide. This will allow you to read evenly across your modules instead of heavily focusing on one particular module.

Think of key questions

Some texts will be really long and difficult to get through, so try to think of some questions that you would ask. For example, what is the text trying to argue? What perspective/ approach has this text taken? How does it develop my understanding of this topic? If you keep those key questions in your mind, try and pick out parts of the text that help to answer those questions, this will help you to focus on the necessary parts of the text.

How to get through your reading list

Skim read

Skim read the given texts and only take notes the important parts. Your ability to skim read will develop over time. It is an important skill to have, it will allow you to read texts more quickly and efficiently, thus allowing you to read more texts, consequently deepening your understanding and knowledge of your subject.

Also, you should remember that (in most cases) the outcome of the module will mainly be based on one large essay and one exam. Though the weekly reading is important, if you don’t think that you will focus on that said topic for either the essay or exam then don’t stress too much about it. Try to skim read around that subject area so that you can at least take part in the seminar discussion – you might end up enjoying that area of study.

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How to get through your reading list

Lisa Bastow

I am a History student at Keele University.

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