How to Study Well by Reading

Can’t concentrate when you read?

Do you feel that the words go through your eyes and out your ears?

Here is how to study well when reading.


  • Get all materials. If you want to study properly, don’t just bring your book. You will need a notebook and pencils, pens and highlighters. This will help you pay more attention when reading rather than reading passively.
  • Read it once. During this, read for content. Try to understand the overall message or story. Put a * with a pencil when you read something that you think is important, rare, or stands out. If you want, just read a page at a time.
  • Read it again. This time, read over, and see if the points with the * are still that important. If they are, Highlight them. There should be no more than 10 lines on a page that is highlighted. The highlighted points would help you find important quotes or sentences when you need them later on, or to study for exams. This way, you can skip reading it again, and only have to read the highlighted important points.
  • Take notes. Pull out your notebook and summarize what you read. Try to make it as short and precise as possible. You can make jot notes or a paragraph, which ever is easier for you to read later on.
  • Study. You already read through the passage twice and used your own mind to rewrite and make notes, so it should be stuck in your head. But remember to review every 2-3 days to make sure you don’t forget.
  • Review. After reading comes the most important step–recollection. Recollection is what you get grades or marks for. Be prepared to give a thorough and detailed answer to the question, “What have you read?” If you can remember it now you will most likely remember it later. Your brain is like a muscle; you need to train it to do the job by doing it again and again. After all, you did not learn to run without learning to walk. You have learned your mother tongue by repeating again and remembering the use and meaning of every word you have heard from anyone around you.

How to Start Reading for Pleasure Again After Studying

Try something different

  • My studies introduced me to a range of texts I would not have previously thought to read, opening my eyes to new genres. This is the time to explore these options further and read books outwith your comfort zone. Enjoyed that literary classic you read on your course? Now is your chance to see what else is out there. Always wanted to read a science fiction book? This is your moment to discover more. Explore the shelves of our bookshop or look at our reading lists for inspiration.


  • Work your way through that bucket list

    When I was studying, there was no time to read anything other than the books on the course. Surrounded by an array of books every day at work, I longed to immerse myself in the novels I was hearing about from friends and the books on my shelf that were gathering dust. I decided to start a ‘reading bucket list’ of books I wanted to read once studying was over (for me, this is a shelf full of YA fiction!). Not only did this give me something to look forward to, it meant that when I started reading again I had a starting point and felt genuinely excited about the line-up that awaited me. There are still moments when I instinctively reach for the highlighter pen, but I view this as a positive and appreciate my ability to connect with the words on the page.

  • Create a space within which you can relax

    Those books that have covered the floor of your room for the last few weeks… it’s time to put them somewhere you can’t see them! Create a space free from distraction in which you can relax – cup of tea in hand – and detach yourself from the stress of exam results. When out and about, take your book with you to read when you have a spare moment. Start to incorporate reading into your daily routine in a way that works for you.

Start your own book club

  • One of the many benefits of reading is that it can be an individual or a participatory experience. Miss the buzz of studying with others? Why not start a book club? Not only is this an opportunity to discuss the books you have read and to hear what others thought of them, but you also gain the collective recommendations of others and will be introduced to a variety of different books. For those missing the schedules and deadlines studying provides, a book club can provide structure and give you goals to focus on.