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5 Essential Tips for College-level Reading Comprehension

5 Essential Tips for College-level Reading Comprehension

Often times students ask, “How am I supposed to be able to remember everything I read?” Tom McCracken, who serves as Crown’s Study Lab Director, gives some great advice.


First off, time management is helpful when it comes to comprehension.

Tip #1 – Break your lengthy reading assignments into sections. For example, instead of reading 50 pages in one sitting, read 5 pages in the morning, another 5 pages over lunch, and 5 or 10 pages in the evening. By doing this you will generally retain information at a much higher level.

Second, it’s good to remember that textbooks are laid out in a way that shows you what is important to know.

Tip #2 – Look for charts, pictures, and graphs. Check for notes in the margins. Pay special attention to bold-faced print and italicized words. All of these things highlight for you what is important to remember.

Third, when scanning the headings of paragraphs, turn them into questions.

Tip #3 – Take paragraph headings, and write them down as a question. For example, if the heading of a section in your text says, “Highlights in 21st century space exploration,” turn it into a question. Write down in your notebook, “What are space exploration highlights from the 21st century?”

Our fourth tip is something you’ll want to do only after you have done tips 1 – 3.

Tip #4 – Only highlight key points in your text book. This allows you to remember what is really important, while not allowing yourself to get lost in unimportant facts.

Lastly, be sure to give yourself adequate time for study and reading.

Tip #5 – Give yourself seven days to read and digest information. Nothing stresses a student out more than too much reading with too little time. Procrastination is your enemy. When cramming in reading, comprehension will undoubtedly suffer.

By doing these 5 things, you will find that you are able to retain more information, and not only that, but information that is most applicable to your studies, your work and your life.

Written by Nate Erickson

When he's not helping students, you'll find this academic advisor spinning mad beats in the studio or traveling with his family.