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Strategies to Use After Reading

Employ organizational strategies.

Connect material to your prior knowledge and aid you in seeing the connections between different ideas and materials, after you have read.

Concept Maps

This technique enables you to see the relationships between ideas and facts and should reflect how you think about the subject.

  • Start by listing the key ideas, concepts, terms, and facts from the reading. Then arrange these in a hierarchy with the most inclusive on top, working your way down to the least inclusive.  
  • To draw the concept map, start at the top with the most inclusive items and work your way down the page to the most specific items.
  • Draw lines showing the connections between the different items. Label each line to show the connection.
  • If you start a concept map and discover a better way to organize the material, do not be afraid to start over. This shows that you are thinking about the material and making sense of the overall structure of it.  

Here are some examples of concept maps used for note-taking.

Charts and Matrices

Both are useful for depicting many kinds of information. Matrices are helpful to display information where two or more topics are to be compared. First, list the topics you want to compare along the top of the chart. Then list the characteristics you want to use to compare them along the side. You can then list the defining characteristics for each topic. This gives you a quick way to compare the characteristics of the topics.    


An outline could help organize the information in the reading and can help connect the reading material to other class material. You may use formal outlining techniques or develop your own style of organizing the material in a hierarchical structure. If the textbook provides an outline, you can use it as a starting point, but expand on it to make it your own. Do not copy text from the book, but paraphrase material in your own words.

One benefit of an outline is that you can integrate material from the readings, lecture, and discussions into one outline. This allows you to see how all the pieces of the class fit together.

Explore other strategies.

Ask general questions about the entire chapter and try to answer them without referring to the text or your notes.

  • What was the main idea?
  • How does this chapter relate to others?
  • How does the reading relate to the lectures or discussions?

Write a summary.

  • Writing a brief summary will prove that you have learned the material.
  • Work with a friend to quiz each other on material.