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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds Look– with 15 seconds, I knew I wasn’t going to get everything from the article. So it was a quick scan to pick up some keywords, to know that the article was about decision making. First, I froze because of the time pressure. I only had 15 seconds.

Skip to 0 minutes and 24 seconds I scanned the text, first. And then, start to write what’s in it. First, I read the title. Then I started to read the paragraphs, just to get an overview.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds I just wrote down the text is about decision making process. The key words were decision making processes, and implementation, and advantages and disadvantages. How was it to do this exercise? Was it hard or easy? You might have found yourself starting to read the entire text. And that is what most people find the most difficult aspect of previewing, to stop themselves from reading everything. The main keyword, also the title, was decision processes. If you were very attentive, you might have noticed that the text is specifically about decision processes that involve more than one person. The text consisted of two parts– pros and cons. And that is actually all you need to get out of the previewing– there’s nothing more to it.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 seconds As a result of the preview, your brain will get itself ready to process the upcoming pros and cons. So when you actually read the text in step 2, you will be more focused and efficient. And you will remember more. As you notice, previewing should take very little time. You only scan the structure. And you only need to notice that there are pros and cons. But you don’t need to name or understand any of them yet.

Students discuss the exercise

In this video our students will share their experiences with the previewing exercise.

Previewing is something most people skip but is needed to give your brain an outline. By previewing a text or book you create a quick overview in which you can place the information you will read later on. Try it out and you will soon notice you’ll get better and faster at it.

Please share your experiences with the other learners:

  • Did you find the exercise hard or easy to do?
  • What did this exercise teach you about previewing?

  • And do you want to practise once more? Open the PDF below, and try to preview this text in max. 90 seconds. Good luck! In the other file you will find an example of a good preview of the text.

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This video is from the free online course:

Improving Your Study Techniques

University of Groningen

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