One of the critical skills any student must use is taking notes. Of course, depending on the concentration and situation, the nature of those notes will vary dramatically. However, when reading a book, any student can benefit from summarizing chapters after reading them.
Highlighting various sentences throughout a book is the common approach to reading a book for many students, but you need more than that. After reading hundreds of pages, you need a quick and easy method of summarizing what you just consumed.
One practice is to write directly in the book at the end of a chapter. Many large textbooks provide enough room for this. For example, here are some notes on the chapter about Serbia in Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.
In this example, the student is documenting the key aspects of pre-World War I Serbia that they will need to recall in the event of a quiz, test, or essay. Immediately, the student can recall Serbia’s history of assassinations, overarching nationalist sentiment, and its government full of conspirators. Having just read the chapter, the student is better suited to provide these bullet points.
Keep in mind that these notes belong to the student and are not meant for others’ eyes. Thus, a second reader may find them vague or confusing, but the student writing the notes should know the key takeaways from the chapter.
Of course, you do not need to diminish the value of your book by writing in it, as you can always type your notes digitally.
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor