College is usually synonymous with a lot of reading. Many times the reading tends to be…well incredibly dry, especially if it is an academic paper. There are a couple strategies that I use to not only read, but absorb the information.
First I decide whether I want to print to paper out or not. This depends on two things. One is how long the article is. If it is 15 + pages I’m not going to print it out. It justs costs to much and too many trees are killed. The second is what i feel my attention span is for the day. If I’m really scatter brained, I might print the article out. Another thing that I do is just have that article open, no Facebook, no pinterest, nothing else to distract me from the task.
Break the article up in sections. If I am reading an 18 page paper, I might break the article up into two sections of 9 pages. After I finished those 9 pages, I take a break. It ranges anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending on how dense the text is. I grab a coffee or tea depending on the time of day and scroll through Facebook or Instagram. After the amount of time I allowed for a break, I dive back into the text.
If given a prompt by your professor write it on the top of your page. This helps you keep it in mind as you read. It also will help you go back and narrow down particularly useful passages from your notes. I often will write the title of the article and the author at the top of the page as well, just so I know what to look for if I want to reference it later.
Take notes! This makes sure you’re actively reading and synthesising the article. I try to rephrase my notes into my own words as this makes sure that I am actually understanding what I’m reading. If something I read is too good to rephrase, I will write down the quote, but I will make sure that I know that it is a quote.
How do you read long articles? Let me know in the comments!