General Study Habits

Time Management

Taking Notes & Reading


Interacting With Instructors

Contact Information


Taking Notes And Reading

Getting the Most out of Your Textbook

  Textbook use in courses will vary with the teaching style of the professor. Some professors will rely heavily on the textbook to fill in gaps of content information that they do not have time to cover in lecture. Others will use the textbook more as a reference source to supplement or reinforce your understanding of the main points covered in lecture. In addition, the degree to which you will be tested on specific information from the textbook will vary among professors.

  At the beginning of a course, you should determine which textbook usage style your professor employs and adjust your reading strategy accordingly. If the professor’s style is not obvious from information contained in the course syllabus or practice exams, don’t hesitate to ask him/her directly about the role of the textbook in lectures. To get the maximum effect from a textbook, you need to get in the habit of using it regularly. Moreover, you should consult the book both before and after a topic has been covered in lecture. The best use of a textbook before lecture is to skim the assignment for that day, concentrating on the section headings, boldfaced words, figures, and figure captions. This will familiarize you with the main points of the topic to be covered in lecture that day, and facilitate your note-taking efforts. After lecture, you should go back and carefully reread the assignment. This time you should look for details that reinforce the lecture discussion and supplement your notes with this information. You should also pay special attention to any figures from the textbook that the professor used during lecture, possibly recopying some form of these figures into your notes.


All content herein ęClemson University, 2000.
Site design by Michael R. Leigher.

Please direct all comments and/or suggestions
regarding this web site to: Dr. Jerry Waldvogel.