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How to Manage Grad School Reading

Updated: Jan 23, 2018

One of the things that brings up warm and fuzzies about grad school is not just the workload, but the READING. Oh, the READING! As I sit here avoiding some of my reading, I thought that I might share some reading tips for those of you who are in grad school while successfully adulting.

#1: Acceptance. You have to accept that there will be a lot of reading so that you can make time in your life that can be dedicated to reading alone. It will be a lot. Some of it is better than others, but, it must be done!

#2: Review your assignment. In grad school, every reading is attached to an assignment. You don’t want to waste time reading something that, although it is interesting and useful, may not be relevant to your assignment. There is no feeling like realizing you’ve spent a couple of hours reading something that you don’t need to read for a few more weeks. A caveat: just because a reading is not relevant to your current assignment doesn’t mean that it won’t be relevant at some point. Be sure to prioritize what needs to be read first, then move on from there.

#3: Preview the texts. Before you read, look at the format of the texts, look at the authors, look at the type of texts. These are all things that will help you figure out how to attack the text. For example, some textbooks are very clearly written with great previews, objectives, summaries, etc. These are bit easier to jump into because they are very clearly organized. Some texts are especially dense and require a great deal of reading, then rereading to understand. Previewing the texts will help you when you move into #4.

#4: Estimate your actual reading time. After you preview your texts, you’ll have a better idea of how much time you’ll really need to read for the week. Sometimes you know it’s only a couple of hours, sometimes it will require a few days. This estimation of time will help you with the next step.

#5: Create a reading schedule. Create times that are dedicated to reading. When I was teaching, I could read during prep periods and do homework at home. Now, that is not a possibility, so I tend to read late at night or early in the morning. Make sure you have created a window when you have uninterrupted reading time.

#6: Determine your reading style! Some people need to read and stop, while others (that’d be me) need to read everything all at once. Do you have to highlight for understanding? Do you have to take notes as you read? Do you need to write reminders? Determining your reading style can dramatically ease the pain of reading because it will help your comprehension, which will, in turn, help with the assignment you’ll ultimately have to complete.

So, I hope you found this helpful! I wish you the best of luck with your reading this week! Click HERE for the video!

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