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Study skills

Reading effectively: key points

The aim of most of your reading will be to gain a better understanding of a topic or to complete an assessment task. Always read with an idea of why you are reading and what you are looking for and would like to achieve.


Reading strategies:

  • Use prior knowledge from lectures, tutorials, recommended readings and from your life outside of Angliss.
  • Previewing the text – look over the whole document to get an overview and make sure it’s relevant to your purpose.

Read the article’s title, the abstract if there is one, and then read the introduction and conclusion. If it’s a report, read the executive summary and table of contents. Examine tables and graphs as they often summarise key information.

  • Skimming the text – move quickly from paragraph to paragraph to find main ideas. Look for the key words/sentences connected to your topic. Pay attention to the first sentence (topic sentence) and the last sentence of each paragraph.
  • Scanning your text for specific detail of information, like a keyword, and for repetition of words and ideas that focus on your purpose for reading the document.
  • Read a text closely. If the document is important to your purpose, you will need to read it carefully and critically. Read in short manageable chunks. Read with questions in mind.

- Why am I reading this document?

- How is it linked to the topic and to the assessment question?

- Is the evidence presented relevant? Is it convincing?

- Does it answer questions I need to know

  • Take notes. If you take effective notes, you won’t have to re-read the document to search for information but only to check details if necessary. See the library guide on note-taking.

TIP. The Find command (Ctrl F) is helpful for quickly locating specific information in a text.

Turn academic reading into writing.

Source: The University of Melbourne: Academic Skills. (2020, March 20). Reading Into Writing [Video]. YouTube. 

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