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The Importance of Rereading

The best way to begin any reading assignment is to skim the pages to get an overall view of what information is included. Then read the text more carefully and highlight it and/or take notes in your notebook. How to Study

A brief digression:

Most everyone I know confuses “skim” and “scan.” Let me set the record straight. Skim is to read quickly and superficially. Scan is to read carefully but for a specific item. So when you skim a reading selection, you are reading it in its entirety, though you’re only hitting the “highlights.”

When you scan a selection, you are reading it in detail but only until you find what you’re looking for. Scanning is the fastest reading rate of all—although you are reading in detail, you are not seeking to comprehend or remember anything that you see until you find the bit of information you’re looking for.

You probably are assigned a lot of reading that can be accomplished by skimming for facts. By establishing the questions you want answered before you begin to read, you can quickly browse through the material, extracting only the information you need.

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Let’s say you’re reading a science book with the goal of identifying the function of a cell’s nucleus. You can breeze through the section that gives the parts of the cell. You can skim the description of what cells do. You already know what you’re looking for—and there it is in the section that talks about what each cell part does.

Now you can start to read. By identifying the questions you wanted to answer (a.k.a. your purpose) in advance, you would be able to skim the chapter and answer your questions in a lot less time than it would have taken to painstakingly read every word.

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