Effective readers are active, critical and use clear strategies and techniques.

Reading plays a central role in learning when studying for all students regardless of their level of study.  In particular, undergraduate and postgraduate students can be required to read large volumes of research independently and effectively.

Before sitting down to read your study materials or articles, first establish your purpose for reading. 


  • How does this reading fit in with the overall framework of the area I am studying?
  • Which sections are really relevant to my task?
  • Why am I reading this? Do I need to read all of the article or just parts of the article in order to answer a particular question?

Studies show that the more you interact with a text you are reading, the more likely you are to retain the information. Try to highlight key points, circle the important topic words, make notes on the side of the page, comment on the ideas and write questions (though don't do this in books you have borrowed from a Library).

There are  active reading strategies that can help you to be as productive as possible when reading: skimming, scanning, and close reading techniques. These strategies will save you time, and help you to be more purposeful in a study session. There are some excellent resources below to help you to understand and build these skills.