Do You Actually Need to Read Your Textbooks? – College Info Geek

Do You Actually Need to Read Your Textbooks? – College Info Geek

October 11, 2019 4 By Ronny Jaskolski


Hey, what’s up everybody? I’m Thomas from
College Info Geek and today we are not going to be talking about probability theory, but
we will be talking reading assignments. So the question of the day, is “Should you do
all of your assigned reading?” And there are a lot different answers you’ll find out there.
Some people will say “No! It’s useless!” Some people will say “Yes! Obviously you should
do all your reading. It’s the stuff you’re supposed to be learning”. And you are stuck
in the middle trying to figure out which one of these answers is right. So hopefully in
this video I can give you a little bit of guidance to make that decision for yourself
based on your own set of specific circumstances. So here’s the thing about reading. Reading
assignments help you learn the material that your professor wants you to learn. Obviously.
However when you’re in college, you’re time is very limited and you’re classwork and reading
are not the only things that you should be doing with that time. You’ve also got part-time
jobs, building relationships with other people, networking, extracurriculars. All this kind
of stuff and you can’t really afford to sink all of your time into reading and studying
and specifically only learning activities. So here’s my initial tip for figuring out
how much of your reading to actually do. Triage your assignments. Now triage is originally
a medical term. And it’s used by doctors and field medics in wars to assess the number
of patients they have in the given time and figure out which one they should focus on
first. However, triage is applicable to many different fields and you can use it when gauging
your reading material because it’s really just prioritization with an emphasis on doing
the most important things first and possibly having to let certain things go. So the thing
about reading assignments is that not all of them are required for you to get a good
grade in a certain class. For one, a lot of the reading material will be covered in class
on lecture slides and you can learn it while you’re sitting in class, during the time you’ve
already dedicated to learning by paying for classes. And for other classes there are just
a lot of the reading materials that will never be covered on tests, so you don’t need to
learn it in order to get the grade. Now unfortunately not every class is like this and a lot of
classes do require the reading material. So the tip here is to gauge your classes throughout
the semester. Learn which classes require a lot of reading and which classes you can
safely skip a lot of material for. And when I say skipping, it’s not just the binary choice
between skipping and reading. There’s actually a spectrum of focus that you can apply to
your assigned readings. And for simplicity’s sake, we can break this spectrum down into
three specific choices. Skip, skim, or read. But I took my marketing class during my junior
year, I started the semester off by reading every single assignment. However I quickly
realized that I could just go to the back of every chapter, note down the vocabulary,
and study that. And do just fine on the tests. So that’s what I did for the rest of the semester,
and I got a great grade in the class. So if that’s what you can do for a specific class,
it’s going to save you a lot of time. In other classes just skimming the material alone isn’t
going to cut it. So you’re going to have to find time to dedicate close reading to that
material. The key here is to remain mindful when you’re in class. Gauge the amount of
effort you need to put into the class and the readings as the semester goes along, and
adjust your effort accordingly. Another thing that you can focus on is the type of readings
that are assigned. So each of your classes will most likely have a primary reading source.
And this is usually going to be the assigned textbook. Primary reading sources should be
a high-priority item for you. And you should most of your reading assignments in those,
However a lot classes have secondary reading sources. Maybe articles that the professor
that the professor finds interesting or historical documents. Things like that. And a lot of
times these readings are not actually that important. So if you find that you don’t have
time beyond the primary sources, you can usually safely skip these. However you decide to prioritize
those readings, the one thing I will say is to always have that material available in
class. If you’re able to dig into your primary sources while you’re learning from the lecture
slides, then you’re going to be able to solidify concepts in your mind a lot better. Also the
professor might want you to look into the textbook every once in a while. So just make
sure you have it with you. And the last thing I want to cover in this video is the idea
of your time. So reading assignments are so numerous that they often get the excuse of
“I don’t have time to do all of these”. And often that’s valid. But I want you to think
about it. Specifically I want you to make sure that you’re not interpreting a lack of
efficiency as a lack of time. If you’re just trying to read straight through all of your
reading assignments, then you might not be tackling them in the most efficient way. And
that may be the true problem when you think that you don’t have time to get them done.
Next week’s video is going to be all about strategies and techniques you can use to do
your assigned readings more efficiently. So if you want to get that, make sure you subscribe
to this channel. But for this video the main idea here is to be mindful of each class’s
required readings. As you go through the semester, try to decide which ones require attention
more than others. And then, adjust your investment of time for each one accordingly.
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