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Every time I read a textbook in psychology I gather the following materials:
  • highlighters
  • pens (black and blue), pencils, colored pens
  • bookmarks
  • index cards

I always highlight all vocabulary words in yellow highlighter. In the blank spaces around the text I usually create a diagram of key concepts.

For example:

Freud's Psychosexual Stages

  1. Oral - Birth to 2 yrs
  2. Anal - 2 yrs
  3. Phallic - 4 to 6 yrs
  4. Latency - 6 to 12 yrs
  5. Genital -12 to adult
  • Using my colored pens, I trace, color in, or draw other diagrams that are already in the book. I usually don't use a notebook for separate notes although some find it helpful. The only notes I generally keep in my class notebook are the ones that the professor gives during lecture.
  • Index cards serve as flashcards and also frequently double as bookmarks.
  • As I read, I always highlight the paragraph or section title so that I know and remember that I have read that section at least once.
  • I make sure to read ALL chapter summaries especially if I am pressed for time or I am not sure of a concept's importance!
  • Occasionally I will read the summary first so that I get at least an overview of the topics covered in the chapter.
  • Pencils are used for jotting down notes on important topics as well. I write in the white or
  • blank spaces around the text in the book. It helps to reinforce what has already been read, and I often find that if I am taking an exam, I tend to remember things written in the margins. If you study and get accustomed to this learning style, you may find that you can visualize the place on the page and even the page number on which the info is written.