Total page views

How I manage my reading

I recently started a Masters in English Language and Linguistics and I’ve definitely noticed a jump in the amount of reading between BA and MA. Sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming, and I’m sure most postgraduates will agree with me! Whether I am reading for my lectures or for research, this is how I personally have been managing my reading:

1. Organise your life using check lists 

I have recently discovered a website called Checkli ( It’s really good because you can create separate check lists for different modules (for example), and prioritise certain things over others. I use this to monitor how much reading I have for the week, and usually set myself reading at least a week in advance of the lecture or seminar. Of course that’s not always feasible, but this handy check list website has allowed me to see what I have left outstanding, so I don’t miss anything! 

2. Skim reading could be your best friend 

At first glance this may seem like a lazy option when it comes to reading, but not all of the sections in your reading may be relevant to the exact topic you are researching. I usually have a look through all of the sub-headings before I start reading, and see if they are pertinent to what I am trying to get out of it. Usually I need to get the general rationale for a study from the reading, and sometimes skim reading more irrelevant sections could help you get the job done quicker. 

3. Make notes

Making notes is usually best for me to ensure that I have taken in all of the relevant points from the reading. Obviously it depends on how you work, but I like to write down key points when I learn. However, sometimes making notes can be laborious which is why I only ever take down the main focuses/results of the paper or chapter, or key methodological choices. You may find it easier to write electronically or by hand, whatever works for you! 

4. Do not get yourself down if you don't complete a reading in time 

You may end up going to a lecture or meeting and not completely finishing an article or chapter. I’ve learnt to stop feeling guilty about not getting every main point from the reading as you can learn from others who may have read parts that you haven’t. You could ask others what they thought of the reading outside of contact hours, or simply listen to what people have to say in seminars! And always make sure to visit your lecturer during their office hours if you are struggling with anything. 

I hope these tips were useful to at least some of you! It is by no means the best way to manage your reading, but it is working for me so far. Make sure to take regular breaks and much needed rest!

Sophie Whittle, MA English Language and Linguistics
Careers Service

Careers Service

No comments:

Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.