I thought it would be fun to show you how I organize different aspects of my life, like school and my home. Perhaps one of you can find the tricks I've learned useful.
I wanted to start with college readings. A recent survey at my university showed that more than 60% of the students don't do the required reading. Even more students admit to start doing the reading just before a test. Qué crazy, no?
I've mentioned before that I'm getting a M.A. in Spanish Literature, meaning I have to read A LOT! Just for fun I recorded how much I read last week: 827 pages in one week, which consisted of two novels and a bunch of articles. And it was an easy week, I usually have to read 3-4 novels per week! If you think that's a lot, wait until I tell you about all the writing, research and other homework I do, (but that's for another post!)
Anyway, how do I do it? Simple, I divide the readings.
Don't try to read the 3 chapters you were assigned all at once. Chances are you'll get tired and stop paying attention after a few pages. Reading in small chunks will not only make the reading more bearable, but it will also help you retain more information.
So here you go, 5 tips to make college reading easier!
First, figure out how many days you have to complete a reading. I usually give myself 4-6 days to finish a novel and 3-4 days to read articles. That all depends on how long they are and how far apart the due dates are. You need to be realistic with your time so you can divide your readings accordingly. Be honest!! For example, I know I don't get anything done on Sundays since we visit my family. Therefore , no readings are scheduled for that day!
Second, divide the pages you have to read by the days you have open. Say you have a 100 page reading and 5 days to finish it. That equals 20 pages per day. I use post it flags to divide the parts. It doesn't sound that bad anymore, does it?
Third, you can even divide your reading even more! For example, if you have 4 breaks in between classes, spread out your daily reading. Or do half in the morning and half later. Waiting in line? read a page or two, your date is late? finish that psychology chapter. We all have time to read, you just gotta find it!
Fourth, try to write a brief summary of each part you read. I obviously highlight and take notes while reading, but I always write the main points or summarize what I've read in a few sentences. The summary is usually written on the post it I use to divide the readings. This helps me refresh my memory before reading the next part and even works as an index in case I need to go back and find something specific.
Fifth, stay on track!!! Keep an agenda and make sure you read the days you planned to. It's easier to think that you can add the reading to the next day's just because it's a few pages. Like I said, smaller chunks are better! I sometimes read ahead if I'm up for it, but I've learned the hard way not to procrastinate.
So here you go! I hope some of you can use some of these tips.