Required Reading

Having just grudgingly trudged through a page of academic writing I thought that I’d write this blog on ‘Required Reading’ and why it’s necessary.

As well as lectures and seminars many courses also require the student to take it upon themselves to do related reading in their own time. Often the module leaders and tutors will direct the student on what to read and that reading will help reinforce the content of the lecture or seminar. Although it’s unlikely that anybody will know if you’ve not done the reading it can have an effect on how well you grasp the concepts and ideologies that you are studying.

My biggest tip would be to never underestimate how time consuming the reading can be and never leave it till last minute (although I’ve been guilty of this more than once!) Often the set chapters/articles will be academic writing which can be fiddly and sometimes I have to read the same sentence a few times before I fully understand it. I find that making notes whilst I read helps; identifying the most important points from the text and summing them up in a few concise words usually means that when I go back and read my notes those words prompt me to remember the information surrounding that point.

Lectures can be daunting and a lot to take in, but if you’re familiar with what’s being taught, even if only vaguely from reading about it the night before, it can make a world of difference.

Reading academic writing regularly is also a good practice to get into for when it comes to gathering information and quotes for essays. When you are looking for a source to back up a point that you are making its handy if you have a starting point, having already been referred to writing on that subject by your tutor.

As tempting as it can be to give the required reading a miss (trust me, I know!) I’d definitely recommend to put in the effort if you want to get the most out of your course. And, if it’s any comfort, I strongly believe that the more you read the easier it becomes.

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