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Passively reading textbooks for long hours does not help. In this article, we gather well-known strategies for studying from textbooks effectively. You will observe that all approaches are variants of similar ideas. Active learning is the key. The more you ask or do to gather information and understanding, the better it is learnt.Everyone learns differently. So, try them out and see which ones work best for you.

SQ3R is an acronym for the following steps:

  • Survey: Before beginning any chapter, read the headings, sub-headings, image captions, and any stand-out information.
  • Question: Compose questions about your survey findings and write them down.
  • Read: Now read the chapter with the intent of finding answers to the questions you posed. Read a section at a time. Spend more time to read difficult content. Clarify it before you move on. Read the next section only after you have performed the recite step on the current section.
  • Recite: Recite after every section. Let it get absorbed. Try to explain yourself how that content helps you answer the question. Read on. Try to formulate analogies that simplify complex ideas to you.
  • Review: Review is an ongoing process, long after you read the content. Try to answer the questions you wrote about the content. Do not refer the book or any notes till you are really stuck and cannot arrive at the ideas yourself. Try to teach someone to really make the ideas stick.

This approach is named after Richard Feynman, the Nobel prize winning physicist.

  • Take a blank piece of paper and write the concept you wish to study
  • Write out the explanation, pretending that you are teaching the concept to a new student. Teaching someone is one of the best ways to learn something.
  • Refer the book everytime you get stuck. But do it only when you have to.
  • Simplify and create analogies that make it easier to understand and remember.

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