Here are some various strategies to help you start remembering what you’re reading:
Write Summaries in Your Textbook
Summarizing your reading causes your mind to comprehend, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information better. You’re not just reading information passively, you’re causing your mind to join ideas together so you can condense it down yourself. Write down brief summaries as you read various sections in your textbook.
Say it Out Loud
After reading and writing summaries for about 30 minutes – stop and take a break. Try to recite out loud from memory what you’ve just read. Pretend to give a lecture on what you’ve read, and do your best to recall what you’ve just summarized. This might be difficult at first, but you’ll get better at it as you keep practicing.
Argue With Your Textbook
Another great way to remember what you’ve read is to start an argument with your textbook. Think critically about everything you’re reading and question concepts that seem foreign to you. Add question marks and underline areas that cause you to question. And make sure to write down questions in your textbook. These are also great questions to pose in class – or to ask your professor during office hours. It shows you’re an active reader.
Create a Mock Essay Exam
After finishing a chapter, write a mock essay exam question about what you’ve just read. And then take 15 to 30 minutes to write a detailed answer to the question from memory. This is a great way to make the information stick.
Record Your Verbal Summaries and Listen
I know this sounds geeky, but I used to record myself summarizing my textbooks. And I would listen to these recordings at night while falling asleep. This is a very easy way to help you memorize a lot of information without even thinking very hard.
The more actively involved you are with your textbook, the more you’ll comprehend and the more interesting you can make your reading experience.