How to study a textbook (with pictures)

How to study a textbook (with pictures)
How to study a textbook (with pictures)

Nowadays, students are rarely taught techniques that will enable them to study the larger textbooks used in university. As a result, they have developed habits that block them from studying textbooks instead of giving them more. This article aims to explain a method that will help students to simply study a textbook and even be able to study the largest textbook there is. Indeed, by following this method, we can save time.


Part 1 of 3: optimize reading

Study a Textbook Step 1

Step 1. Read the introduction to the manual first

If it is a manual that does a detailed analysis on a particular topic, the introduction will give you a general idea of ​​the author's argument and give you an overview of the manual. If the manual is a general introductory text, for example an introduction to the course on US government or the principles of microeconomics, you will find in the introduction details of the approach technique the author will use to develop. its theme.

Study a Textbook Step 2

Step 2. Analyze the structure of the book

First, take a look at the table of contents of the book. See how it's organized. This will let you know beforehand what you will be discussing in class and what the exam might be about. Second, observe the organization of each chapter. Most textbook authors use a blueprint made up of headlines and subheadings that they plan to develop in each chapter of their book.

Study a Textbook Step 3

Step 3. Go to the end of the chapter first

Several books provide a recap or summary of chapter content and questions to be considered or “food for thought” at the end of each chapter. By going to have a look at this part first, before reading the entire chapter, you will be able to know the things you need to focus on while reading the chapter.

Study a Textbook Step 4

Step 4. Formulate questions based on your analysis

See if the headlines and subheads provide any clue to any questions you might have. For example, a section titled "Causes of Alcoholism" in a psychology textbook, could easily turn into a question that might appear on an exam paper: What are the causes of alcoholism?

As you read, look for the answers to this question. If you can't find what you're looking for, try rephrasing your questions

Study a Textbook Step 5

Step 5. Read aloud

You may find it easier to be successful studying your textbook if you read aloud. Reading aloud can also help you stay the course, especially if the manual is large or complex.

Study a Textbook Step 6

Step 6. Create an environment that allows you to read without being distracted

Stay away from your cell phone, computer, and anything that might interrupt you. We often think that we can do several things at the same time and can study without being totally focused. However, if you have a subject to study in a serious way, you must necessarily devote your full attention to it. Concentrate and you will be rewarded.

Study a Textbook Step 7

Step 7. Take a break after each chapter

Go for a 10 minute walk or treat yourself to a little entertainment. You will not be able to study well if you are exhausted. Approach each chapter with a clear mind.

Part 2 of 3: Study the Manual

Study a Textbook Step 8

Step 1. First use optimization techniques

This will give you an overview of the manual so that you can approach the study with an idea of ​​the structure and the main points. At the end of your reading, remember the essentials, such as the questions at the end of the chapter.

Study a Textbook Step 9

Step 2. Read the entire chapter

While reading this, do not take any notes or do anything else. Just read. By doing this, you have two goals. The first is to get an idea of ​​the purpose of the chapter. Ask yourself: what is the author trying to say in the entire chapter? Second, how has the author structured the information or argument throughout the chapter? When you have a feel for these two questions, you can start taking notes that will benefit you in your exam revisions and in your research.

Don't skip this step! You might be tempted to simply finish your reading as soon as possible, however it is unlikely that you will be able to withhold the information if you do so in a hurry

Study a Textbook Step 10

Step 3. Take notes as you read

Taking notes doesn't mean writing every word in its entirety. The art of taking notes involves discerning what is important and relevant in the material rather than copying it out.

  • The first thing to write is the main point or argument that the author develops in the chapter. Write it down in three sentences, no more. Then ask yourself how the author approaches this point. This is the usefulness of headlines and subtitles. Under each title there are paragraphs that make up the chapter section. Document the theme phrases that were used to structure the argument in writing the section and chapter.
  • Don't be afraid to write in your textbook. Taking notes in a textbook by writing comments and questions in the margins next to the relevant items can be an invaluable asset when you are studying.
  • Take your notes by hand. Taking notes by hand forces your brain to actually become familiar with the material, as opposed to ignoring it or mindlessly typing the same text on a computer.
Study a Textbook Step 11

Step 4. Create a list of concepts and phrases

Go through the chapter again and make a list of major theoretical concepts and essential properties that can help you understand the technical elements of the chapter. Also make a list of relevant vocabularies with corresponding definitions. Very often, this information is printed in bold, italics or highlighted by being framed or by another technique.

Study a Textbook Step 12

Step 5. Create a study guide from the notes you have taken

Start by summarizing the chapter and the main points in it in your own words. This will make you discover your shortcomings. Ask yourself what you read and the notes you took: "What question does this information answer?" "And" how does this information relate to other elements? These are the appropriate questions to start with.

Part 3 of 3: Understanding Some Common Mistakes

Study a Textbook Step 13

Step 1. Realize that you don't have to read every word

This is a myth common to all students. In particular, if you are slow to read, it would be more efficient for you to read the beginning and the end of the chapter, including the supplements (information contained in a table, in a diagram or any other section of the page that is put highlighted) and any item in bold or italics in the text.

Study a Textbook Step 14

Step 2. Consider doing more than one reading

Another common mistake students make is read their textbook once and then never read it again. A better strategy will be multiple reading.

  • Take a cursory first read. Identify the main idea or purpose of the text (usually indicated by the chapter title and subheadings), then mark each part of the manual that you think you misunderstood.
  • Read headlines, subheadings, and other elements of the structure. Authors often write their chapters in a way that clearly shows the objectives of each section.
  • Repeat reading several times to gather more information.
Study a Textbook Step 15

Step 3. Understand that the reading method is not the same when you are studying

Sometimes students just glance through the pages over and over and tell themselves that they are not getting anything out of their “reading”. Reading is a process that requires an active attitude: you have to be engaged, alert, and have ideas about what you are reading.

Study a Textbook Step 16

Step 4. Know that it is not ideal to highlight things on first reading

While you may be tempted to highlight things as you read a chapter, avoid doing so. Experiments have shown that highlighting can really disrupt your reading, as you will be tempted to highlight every element that you find relevant, without taking a critical look at the ideas that emerge.

If you find it necessary to highlight things, finish your first reading first and then use the marker wisely to highlight only the most important ideas

Study a Textbook Step 17

Step 5. Realize that you must try to understand the words while reading

You might be tempted to simply read the words or items you don't understand just for the sake of “getting it over with”. This attitude does not allow you to understand what you are reading. If a large textbook on Marxist economics has terms that you don't understand at first, don't just read it: stop reading, look for the meaning of the word so that you understand it before you continue reading.


  • Take enough time to study the manual. Do not try to understand 10 chapters in microeconomics or human biology on the eve of an assignment. “Predict and Set Realistic Goals” you want to achieve by studying a textbook.
  • If you want to mark items in your manual, do so by underlining important passages. This technique will require you to consider the element as a minimum rather than the technique of carelessly coloring the passage, making the manual look like a coloring book.
  • It has been proven that a musical instrument can stimulate the organs of the brain which are involved in the process of learning and memorization.

Popular by topic