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Studying methods with a textbook

Picking up a textbook and reading it from front to back will not help you understand the subject in detail. Often times, these students will often struggle to understand the subject and probably not do well on their tests. Here are a few effective studying methods for getting the most out of a textbook.

The fundamentals

First and foremost, multiply the number of pages you have to read by 5 minutes. If possible, start with the number of pages for each chapter. Make sure to keep in mind the number of hours needed before you schedule your reading time. If the time calculated is 3 hours, make sure to avoid reading it in one sitting. The best way to do so is to spread out the timing throughout the day. For example, consider getting an hour of reading before class starts or you can do so over the lunch break.

During your reading session, it would be beneficial to have a highlighter, pen or pencil and paper in hand. It is highly recommended to write notes in the book itself. However, if you are not allowed to do so for whatever reason, you may also use post-its to jot down notes.

Follow a system

After learning the basics of textbook reading, you may also want to follow a systematic pattern such as P2R, which stands for preview, read actively, and review.


Before you preview your textbook make sure to divide it into a 10-page chunk. You can start previewing your textbook by reading titles in each section. If there are no titles, read the lines of the first paragraph continued by the last paragraph. Do get a glimpse of the visuals used on the pages. At the end of the 10-page chunk, do study questions or look through the summaries given.

Read actively

To avoid breaking your flow, it is best not to take notes or highlight while you read. This is because; you might not know what the importance of the first sentence is until you have read a couple more sentences, which might be the real point of the whole paragraph. Thus, it is advisable to complete reading a paragraph before determining the points to highlight or take notes.


After the ten-page chunk, recap the section that you have just read. Take a clean sheet of paper and write down the summary at the top of your head. It is not needed to be the exact words from the textbook. You can repeat the process when you have completed 10-pages. Once you have completed reading the textbook, you may re-read the notes to have a better understanding of the subject.

Other things to keep in mind

At times, the subject that you are studying on might be quite dry or boring and relating to something that interest you may just be the solution. For example, try relating physics with a type of sport. You may be surprised at how much science is applicable to our daily life. A great way for you to process the material is to try reading it out loud.

Enhance your knowledge with other books such as biography, psychology, religion, and history.