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This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, An Intermediate Guide to Writing in English for University Study. Join the course to learn more.

Reading in different ways

Once you have selected your texts, you will need to read in different ways depending on the information you need for your essay.

  • Read for background information – here you may skim the text to get the general idea and build your knowledge of the topic of the essay.

  • Read slowly and carefully to understand fully what points are being made and what to include in your essay.

  • Scan to find specific information to develop your thinking.

  • Scan to compare different perspectives in other texts.

To be efficient at reading academically, you need to read actively, which means doing something with the information you read– such as underlining points, creating mindmaps or making different forms of notes.

You will be looking at how you can do this a little later.

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This article is from the free online course:

An Intermediate Guide to Writing in English for University Study

University of Reading