Studying scientific textbooks requires a plan. Get an idea of your assignment by reviewing it and any accompanying handouts or web information. Look over the chapter quickly, getting the main topics. Notice the key words, the topics, the subtopics and the graphical information. Look over any extra information, such as cds or web sites, which came with the textbook.
When you first read the textbook, read over the entire text to get a general understanding of the material. Scientific textbooks often need to be read more slowly because one idea builds on the next. Read a bit, and then stop. See if you understand what you have read. Put the graphics, tables, lists and facts with the text for better understanding.
Review back over the text. Mark what you do not understand. Writing down words and concepts that are unfamiliar. It may help to read out loud for better comprehension. Use whatever learning style works best for you. It may help you to create visual pictures of the material in your mind or create sense clues. It may also help for you to invent your own way of noting ideas and concepts, one that you will understand . A second reading may be necessary, but only to understand what you did not comprehend. When you think you know the information, it is time to move on to the next step.
Go back over your textbook notes as well as classroom lecture notes and lab notes. All of these help form the overall picture of what you need to learn.
Last Updated: 04/25/2012
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