How to Study From a Textbook: 8 Tips On the Best Way to Read a Textbook

how to study from a textbook

In 2019, 19 million students entered their first year of college, and along with it came loads of reading. 

Studying, reading, researching, and writing are expected for college students, but sometimes it’s hard to learn how to study from a textbook. 

You want to get the most out of your college experience, so learning how to study to retain the material is of utmost importance. 

But studying doesn’t come naturally for some people. In fact, for some people, it’s quite a challenge, especially if the material is boring or difficult to read. If you’re a college student that’s stumped by textbooks and how to read them, continue reading.

8 Tips on How to Study From A Textbook

Ready to crack open a book and start studying? Before you do, here are some tips so you can absorb the material. 

1. Start at The End

While you should never approach mysteries this way, starting at the end of a textbook has a great advantage. This is because textbooks are not narrative style; they exist to educate and not necessarily entertain. 

By starting at the end of a chapter, you review questions, main ideas that summarize the text, familiarize yourself with vocabulary, and more. Reading through the questions will help you pick up the answers as you go through the reading, and make the ideas more understandable.

2. Skim The Material

After reviewing the ending of the chapters, skim the material the get a good idea of what you’re going to be reading. Look over all the headings, subheadings, margins, and extra notes that might be included. 

This way, you’re not diving in headfirst without understanding what you might be reading. A quick skim does not need to be in-depth, but to simply become acquainted with the material.

3. Pause And Reflect

There will occasionally be moments where you may read something that you don’t agree with or are not familiar with. These are perfect moments to pause and reflect on what you’ve read. Ask yourself questions such as, why do I think this way, or what is standing out to me?

There are also moments when it’s a good idea to stop anyway and narrate what you’ve read to yourself or others. Narration is a great way for the ideas to solidify in your mind and to gain an overall understanding of the text. 

4. Handy Highlighter And Notetaking

When you come across an idea that you think deserves more time and attention, or that stood out to you, highlight it. Highlighting helps you retain and find those major themes, details, or big ideas that the text is trying to communicate. Or, highlight if you simply love a phrase or particular wording so you can return to it later.

Notetaking is another way to record your thoughts or questions you might have while reading the text. It’s important to write these down because you don’t want to forget them, and you can look over them later.

5. Maximize Your Time

Being a college student means you are busy with other activities besides studying: work, family, social life, and so forth. While studying should be one of the primary goals for you, it’s important to make the most of your time. 

When you sit down to read and study, break your readings into sections by the time you have to study. This way, you’re spreading your time out so you can accomplish all the readings you need, and not spending unnecessary time on one portion. 

6. Read Out Loud

Have you ever had anyone read out loud to you? While it might seem like reading out loud is for children’s stories at the library, reading out loud has benefits for adults as well. 

Reading out loud improves comprehension and exposes you to new vocabulary words. When you read your textbook out loud versus reading it silently, you’ll boost your memory and likely pick up on details you may have skipped or overlooked while reading silently. 

7. Take A Break

Have you ever started reading and kept reading for so long that nothing starts to seem clear anymore, or the words start blurring together? If so, then it’s time to take a break!

Not all studying must be tedious and draining. If you feel tired, worn out, or you’ve reached your limit, take some time to clear your mind by taking a walk, getting something to eat, and generally stepping away from the text for a bit. Doing this will allow you to come back refreshed and refocused.

8. Review

There’s no point in studying if you’re not learning anything! One of the best things you can do after reading and studying is to review the material. This could be out loud, or by answering questions located in the textbook. 

It’s also important to review the material you read before starting another chapter or study session. When you do this, you remember what you read and how it might connect to the previous reading. Always make a point to review before and after reading to help everything sink in. 

Get to Studying!

When you’re wondering how to study a textbook, some great tips can get you through the rigorous studying that happens when you’re in higher education. With a little planning and preparation, your study session can be fulfilling and beneficial. 

Are you looking for textbook rentals? We’ve got you covered! Visit our website today to see if we have the book you’re looking for!