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Effective reading: Home

Effective reading skills are key to managing the volume and complexity of reading at university.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need to read this?
  • How much detail do I need to read it in?
  • How can I read more effectively?

Top tips for reading


  • identify the author’s line(s) of reasoning and evaluate this critically
  • evaluate the evidence for the author’s argument
  • question their apparent ideas and check for any hidden assumptions
  • check whether the evidence cited in the paper supports the author’s conclusions
  • relate what you are reading to your own ideas and existing knowledge.


There is no ‘right’ way to make notes: you need to find the way that works best for you.


  • written notes
  • e-notes
  • audio notes
  • highlighting
  • mind maps

For more ideas look at Skills for Study module on Reading and note-making. You can also watch the videos on this page on the Cornell Method and Outline Method for ideas.


Find the right place and time for reading; take regular breaks and exercise.

You will find more detailed guides on effective reading in the resources listed on this page. 

book image by Max Griboedov/Shutterstock (image ID:332573291)

Related resources:

Critical Reading & Writing Technique From Harvard University

How to get the most out of studying - cognitive principles including deep processing by Dr.Chew at Samford University

Easy Research Reading Technique

Note-taking Training - Outline Method

Cornell Notes Method of Taking Notes

Notemaking  by University of Southampton [PDF]. 

Noteaking and Notemaking produced by Dyslexia Support, Enabling Services [PDF]

Evaluating information tutorial by University of Leeds.

Note making techniques - useful tips on effective note making and and accompanying video on the '3 column' technique by University of Leeds.

Critical reading techniques by Open University