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Unhappy How much does reading matter in college? - October 4th 2011, 06:09 AM

What I mean is: like, for example, when you're assigned to read chapters 3 and 4 on 'national racism' for next class... It talks about things that were already obvious; the important parts come on the teacher's powerpoint for the whole class to make notes of, so the class gets an idea of the test material.

I've been keeping up with the readings until this week (I've been assigned over 200 pages to read), and just looking over the text, I can just see things that I'll either probably forget, or never make use of (that's what it seems like at least). So tomorrow I'm going to experiment with not reading the assigned material to see how much it really matters... I know some people will say I should really do it but it's not like I'm taking history or chemistry... My classes are: Peace and Conflict, Canadian Ethical Studies, and English.

Has it happened to anyone where you get frustrated after having read 200 pages and only talking about one small section in class which is put up on the class overhead anyways to write down? Is reading that fundamental?


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Re: How much does reading matter in college? - October 4th 2011, 07:38 AM

I'll start off by saying I'm only taking science classes, so it may be different than for non-science classes.

I find it to be quite helpful to read the assigned chapters after the lecture because some things can make more sense or explained in a different way. So I prefer to read after the lecture when everything is still fresh in my mind. When I'm reading and something clicks giving me the "AHA, eurika!" moment, I write it down in the textbook margins so when I'm studying for a test, I just look at my scribbles.

On the other hand, I read before the lecture when I look at the slides before the lecture (some profs post slides before the lecture) and the slides confuse me. I turn to the textbook hoping it can clarify it because I don't want to just write down every word the prof says, I want to write down a summarized coherent version and it's easier to do this if you have some understanding of the content before-hand. For example, yesterday I had a lecture in my course of clinical audiology and I didn't quite understand the slides the prof posted the night before, so I turned to the textbooks (this course has 2 books). After reading, I had a better understanding but still a bit unsure on a few things. Happily, the prof explained those during lecture.

When I'm reading after the lecture, I make note of the things that prof AND book state because that stuff is likely to be more important than some obscure reference. Keep in mind, the prof may not explain everything from the book because they may spread it out across lectures and profs don't often follow the exact order of the textbook. Some profs also have openly stated they wanted us to figure it out on our own and they'd just get us started in the right direction each lecture. That can be a bit frustrating especially when the prof says a bunch of stuff that's important but not in the textbook. I had several profs like that, particularly for a third-year course in neurophysiology and electrophysiology. I found it was useful to stick around after class or go to their office when my group or just I was completely confused. As long as you showed effort, the profs helped.


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Last edited by OMFG!You'reActuallySmart!; October 4th 2011 at 07:45 AM.
   
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Re: How much does reading matter in college? - October 4th 2011, 02:30 PM

I know what you mean, I used to actually try to read for the first week and then I realized I didn't really need it. I'd skim the chapters and powerpoints before tests and I was usually ok, even when they made us buy the book and told us we'd have to read it (I had one guy who told us that and I think I opened the book twice). Skim the material until you figure out what other methods the prof is using. For example, if the notes are taken out of the book and you're bored in class because you read, don't bother, but if something trips you up go ahead and look it over. As you get further along you'll need to read more


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Re: How much does reading matter in college? - October 4th 2011, 02:31 PM

Never done it consistently, never will until the assignments are journal articles in my major. I could give a fuck about non-major classes.



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Re: How much does reading matter in college? - October 5th 2011, 12:47 PM

Well in my couse it's pretty much legitimately impossible to do all of the readings. (500pgs+ x4 classes, plus assignments and things) So I've found I tend to go to class, and if there's a concept i'm fuzzy on it don't understand then do the readings assigned after the class Probably not the ideal way to do things but it tends to work. You just have to make sure that if there's even a tiny thing you're not sure on you look it up. Also if it looks like a certain week is going to be a tricky week, do it in advanced then.

Another tip - I'm not sure how uni-ness works for you, but we often have different readings assigned for lectures and tutorials. Tutorial readings are the most important, but lecture ones can be left by the wayside.

Also, if you have assignment topics and things, make sure you read the weeks readings for the one it corresponds to.


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Re: How much does reading matter in college? - October 6th 2011, 02:15 PM

It really depends on your professors. You have to learn which ones expect you to read and which ones don't have expectations that are as high.
For example:
In my "Distributed Leadership" course, my professor puts the powerpoints online, and the powerpoints are a summary of the reading we were assigned. We do have some collaborative activities dealing with the readings on occassion, but we are able to pull our book out and reread and have plenty of time to look over things before we have to present findings or discuss.
BUT in any of my reading instruction courses, we had several textbooks to read as well as articles. Her exam questions were usually ones that you could only answer with information from the textbooks and articles (as well as application), and our assignments (lots of projects!) all had reference to something in the reading. In class, we did a lot of discussion about the texts and she expected us to read in order to participate.

It's a matter of weighing the expectations for your classes and reading the most important materials first. From there, you can make decisions about what other classes you should read for and where you can get away with not reading.


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Re: How much does reading matter in college? - October 16th 2011, 08:19 AM

Thanks for the tips guys!

Midterms are coming up and my Peace and Conflict teacher said that her midterm is her way of rewarding the people that have been reading and to punish those who haven't. She tends to nag us to read A LOT, but I've stopped after three weeks. Honestly, I just couldn't keep reading 200 pages a week only to have it not mentioned/thoroughly introduced in class. The way she said 'you're not gonna do well if you haven't read' was really intimidating and scared me to be honest. I'm studying like crazy but I just hope this doesn't stab me in the back...


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Re: How much does reading matter in college? - October 16th 2011, 03:30 PM

When they say something like that you want to listen to them. It's not unusual in the higher level classes for you to be expected to read sfuff that they never bring up in class because you were supposed to read it and learn it yourself, otherwise whatever you've been doing should be fine.


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Re: How much does reading matter in college? - October 16th 2011, 07:51 PM

I think it depends. In one of my English classes, I aced every quiz without ever really reading the book. I just skimmed or looked up summaries online. In the next English class I took, reading mattered a lot more, although I could still pass with looking up summaries online. But it was also a book that could be interpreted differently, so I really wasn't understanding it.

As for other classes, I definitely need to read the textbook to understand the class, such as child development or political science.
   
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Re: How much does reading matter in college? - October 17th 2011, 03:15 AM

It depends on the teacher first, the class second. For a history/philosophy/social science class, I would assume it very common for the assigned reading to be much more detailed than the in-class discussions, but for the tests to be reading-based. My current history class is taught by a man who loves to be engaged in philosophical, emotional discussions that attack the subject matter at its very core -- but he tends to disregard or, at the very least, mention in passing, the (somewhat important) detailed facts. Then he tests us on the facts. Other teachers of the humanities gave tests that you could pass easily with a fleeting knowledge of the facts.

If your teacher nags you to read, then I highly recommend reading.
   
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Re: How much does reading matter in college? - October 19th 2011, 01:12 AM

It depends on your class, and the professor.

But generally, as you go through college you'll learn how to alot of reading more effectively. There will be times when it'll be unreasonable to read those 200 pages because you'lll be way too busy. When professors assign this, I find that they aren't expecting you to read every single detail of every paragraph. Questions won't come from random little facts. What's important is the main idea behind the readings and learning to extract the evidence that the reading uses to support the main idea. As time goes on and you get more experience, you'll know what to read, what not to read, and what is important. This is the best way I can describe it....But you do get better at it as times go on.
   
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