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Marking your Textbook

That’s right!  Unlike your previous educational experiences, you have paid for these books.  They’re yours—make the most of them.  Marking your textbooks forces you to decide what is important in each section or paragraph, allowing you to get more out of your study time.  You are also learning actively instead of passively—this will help you to concentrate and will save you from rereading passages.  This is especially useful before exams; if you have marked your textbooks, you can review your markings and not the entire chapter.  Read on for more tips!

Read first

Never mark until you have first read the passage, reflected on what you read, and decided what the main ideas were.  This will spare you from picking unimportant information that grabbed your eyes on your first read.

Be selective

If you underline or highlight too many things you will slow down your reviews of the material or make yourself think in many directions at once.  A little goes a long way!  Don’t be too brief either—you don’t want to read the entire page when reviewing either.

Jot in the margins

Use your own words.  Summarize a section in a way you understand it.  Give yourself clues as to what information is on that page.

Be brief

Do you really need to underline the entire sentence?  Do you need a full sentence in the margin?  Short passages will make a sharper imprint on your memory—just think of TV commercials! 

Be neat

When you preview later on, neatness will save you time, as the ideas will be clear and easy to see.  This takes effort, but is not time consuming!

Find a system

You have many options for marking your text.  You can underline (with one line, two lines, wavy lines, etc.), highlight, circle, asterisk—you set the limit by your own creativity.  It is very important, however, to be consistent.  This will help you in your review of the material, as you will know instantly what “type” of information you have by the mark you placed next to it.

Cross Reference

If you have a paragraph in one chapter that relates to a figure on page 23, mark it!  Arrows can help you keep track of where you’ve been and where you want to be.

Remember:  the main purpose to marking your textbook is to make your life easier.  Have fun—and happy marking!

 If you would like more information on this or other study skill, make an appointment with someone in Learning Support Services today.