Concentrating and Reading
It is often difficult to concentrate during your studies.
Here are some techniques that many students have found helpful.
- Asking Yourself Questions
- Getting the Most from Your Reading
- Read the Ideas
Asking Yourself Questions
The key to maintaining focus is to stop periodically and
ask yourself questions, such as
- How does this relate to what I already know?
- If this is true, what else follows?
- What else could these facts mean?
- What assumptions are being made?
- What's the evidence for this?
- Can I think of a good example of this?
- What are the unique points of this?
Getting the Most from Your Reading
- Check off (with a light pencil mark)
each paragraph that you completely understand. If you start
to get lost in the reading, you will know exactly where: just after
the last check!
- If a section is too difficult for you, try
reading in a whisper. Hearing what we read is like
reading it a second time.
- Similarly, it is good to stop regularly and
summarize out loud what you have just read.
- Try to link new information with the
information you already know. Ask yourself, ``How do I already know
this?'' You can also ask yourself questions such as the focus
questions above. Active linking creates powerful memories.
- Take a few seconds to visualize what you
have just read.
- Don't forget to jot down key words and
concepts. If you read, `rite, and recite
(``3R''), you've got a better chance of retaining crucial
- After taking a short break from studying, and before you
start up again, take a few minutes to review the
information you have just learned. This will give you a sense of
progress and motivate you to continue on.
Read the Ideas
When you are reading
- Stop at the end of each
- Main Section
- Close your book
- Recall the ideas from memory
- Recite the ideas out loud in your own words
Last update: February 4, 1996