As a student in higher education such as university or college, you may suddenly find that you need to read much more than you were used to. Reading in a higher education setting requires a skill that actually needs to be learnt, and is one that you probably weren’t taught in your previous educational life, that means that you need to learn how to read as a student.

To read as a student you need to create a method or strategy in order to do it effectively. When you read an article, you may expect to simply read the article once and have gathered all the facts, information and quotes that you will ever need from it. Sadly this is not normally the case and so you need to develop a way of reading the articles efficiently, giving you more time to focus on essay writing and other academic exploits.

In this article we will look at some of the best tips for how to read as a student, from where you read, how you read and why you read. I hope you enjoy them and make sure you check out the key points at the bottom of the article if you only want the essential ingredients of this article.

Where do you read as a student?

Where we read is very important. If you try to read on the bus, train or whilst walking to college it may not be the best place to do it, or it may be the very best place for you to do it. You need to work out which it is in order to be most efficient in your reading when you are a student.

You must ask yourself questions like do you have the necessary materials to remember important bits of information such as quotes? Can you sustain your concentration for a long period of time? Do you read in a regular spot or change about? The answers to these questions are important, as analysing your responses may lead to a revelation in your student reading life.

If you are struggling how to improve your reading as a student by asking yourself these questions, I would suggest changing your environment temporarily to see if the change has a positive or negative impact. In effect we are suggesting that you experiment with your setting so that you get the best one you can.

How fast do you need to read as a student?

Reading quickly, whilst still gathering all the information is the nirvana for students. A fast reading speed, especially for literature heavy subjects, is essential to develop in order to keep a good work/life balance.

To read quickly takes practice, and techniques such as speed reading can help massively. The easiest way of speed reading is to simply force yourself to read faster. See how quickly you read five pages and then attempt to read the next five pages faster. Over time you may well develop techniques, like those below that help you to read more quickly and assist you when reading as a student.

One of my favourite techniques is reading more than word at a time. By reading two, three or more words every time you move your eyes, your reading speed can be dramatically increased. It may take practice but it is very effective and can ensure that you are reading all of the words, rather than skimming the pages.

If you are trying to locate information, scanning the first sentences of paragraphs can be efficient. Effectively you are looking for key words or phrases to give you an indication of what each paragraph is about. This can often help when trying to find important quotes or locate additional information for a point you may not have fully understood.

Key points for how to read as a student

  • Make sure you read in a location where you will be most effective. Experiment with different locations if necessary.
  • Try to read quickly and train yourself to read effectively.
  • Use techniques such as paragraph scanning to locate the important information that you need for your essays, reports or revision.

These are what I feel the most important points for how to read as a student. What do you think is most important thing when you read as a student? Do you have any techniques that you like or found very effective? Please write a comment below if you'd like to.