Study techniques- How to read your course litterature the best way


Helén Svensson is one of five Study Counsellors at the University, on whose desk questions about study skills ends up. Is there anyone who has the inside track on how to best use their time as a student, it is Helén and her colleagues.

On the third floor in the corridor opposite to the student desk you will find a happy and energetic Helén and when asked about how the concept study technique should be described, she answers undoubtedly:It is all about attitude! The use of different techniques to improve your learning ability. It’s about scanning, stress management and planning.

Do you have some good general tips for students regarding study techniques?

Go to the lectures and read on before! If you do that, you will get an understanding and than you can be alert and ask questions at the lectures instead of sitting and not understanding much of what the teacher says. You get a head start and easier to learn.

– Project Planning! This means planning in a good way. Use the calendar and write lists. Multiple projects can be run at the same time. It makes it easier to make schedules of what needs to be done.

Another important thing is the driving force. One should ask the questions: Why do I study this program? Why am I here?
How should you read a course book?

– One method may be to look for a model, we call it an “effective reading model” for reading course books, and as we talk about in our courses in study technique:
Begin with the summary reading, ie read front and back of the book, the preface and the table of contents. If there are summaries after each chapter, read them first. You get a good idea and you will get an understanding of what the book is about.
After that you go to the quick reading. This means reading the book quickly without paying attention to details. You could say add a fifth gear.
–  Last is time for the in-depth reading. Since you have already got an understanding of the content, you know which chapters are worth reading properly. It is only in the in-depth reading that you highlight the most important parts or take notes on the edge of the book (if it is your own book of course).

– It is not enough to emphasize the importance of repetition! We are talking about the “forgetful curve” and it is important that you repeat early and several times before you forget everything. Do not let it go several days before repetition.

What are your top tips for the students when it comes to reading the course literature?

 Read the curriculum! There is often a clear breakdown of what is required for the examinations, but also what to learn. Also look at the objectives of the curriculum.

Read a lot! Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. If it is difficult to read scientific articles read magazine and newspaper articles on the same topic so you get an understanding of the subject before and learn the concepts. This will usually gets you interested and it becomes easier to get the information.

The University organizes three-hour courses offered on the various programs in study weeks  3-7. There have been some drop-in times and November 20th is the next time, if you missed it. On the University’s website there are information (in Swedish) about study techniques in addition to the courses given.

Text & Picure: Lena Wadell