Go further than reading

It doesn’t matter how much you read and how many inspirational quotes you consume.  If you don’t analyse what you’re reading and you fail to critically engage with the texts, you won’t reap the rewards.

Photo by Chaparral [Kendra]

Put your feet up…and ENGAGE with the text… Photo by Chaparral (Kendra)

Reading the study advice on this site and elsewhere may help you gain an insight into effective ways of working, but it doesn’t fit into place just because you’ve read about it.  Again, it requires action on your part to succeed.

Picture the following situation:

You were given an assignment a month ago and you thought there was more than enough time to write it up.  Now there’s just a day to go before it’s due in and you’ve done almost nothing toward it.  You’ve read the books and been to the lectures, sure, but you’ve still got to get the essay written.

So you work the whole day and most of the night on this assignment.  Your head hurts, you dose up on caffeine and you just want it all to end.

Finally it does.  You finish the essay and get it handed in.  Not a bad job, considering.

Yeah…considering.  But you know, deep down, you could have done a lot better here.

Do you recognise yourself in that situation?

This behaviour is dangerous.  You probably know that.

But it still happens.

This ‘Last-minuteitis’ is probably the result of seeing your essays and coursework in isolation to your overall study.  When you picture the work as a single assignment, rather than part of your ongoing study toward your degree, this overview only allows you to write up to a certain level. Somewhere along the scale, the better marks aren’t achievable unless you fluke it.  Even if you happen to be at the absolute pinnacle of your subject, this way of ‘working’ never works.  Think about it…the most knowledgeable professors in the land continue to study around their subject.  That’s precisely why they are so knowledgeable.

Your learning is more than just reading books and learning the occasional hard-hitting quotations.  It’s an entire development process.

Maybe you don’t relish the thought of working each day toward your studies.  You want to enjoy yourself and make the most of your free time, after all.  Well don’t worry, because you still can.  Perversely, you’ll have more free time and flexibility available if you’re organised and allocate time across a broader period.

I suggest you read…actually, more than just read…I suggest you study what you read in this article at Management Issues.  While focused on business leaders, the piece rings true just as much for students.  In fact, it quotes one medical student directly:

“If I simply read the books I’ll probably get a ‘D’ on the exams.  But if I study the books I’m much more likely to get an ‘A’.” [Source: Management Issues]

It’s time to up your game.  Always strive to improve through your work.  It’s the way forward!

Photo by dhammza

Double effort: Read AND analyse (clone not required).  Photo by dhammza


  1. Wow. Thanks for the great read and the link too. I’ll probably pay more attention to what I’m reading now. 🙂 Learning means more than just passing exams. 😀

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