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Skills – how to read large documents

This article from The University of Law will help you to develop your skills of reading large documents.

How to read large documents (and digest the information).

Here are some top tips from the University of Law:

Before reading:

  1. You don’t need to read the whole document from cover to cover
  2. Use the contents page and the headings to get an idea of themes and the topics
  3. Think about why you are reading the document and what you want to get out of it i.e. is it a specific area of law you want to know about? You can use this to help you work out what headings are important to you.
  4. Identify and check you understand the key terminology and concepts

Whilst reading:

  1. Find somewhere quiet that you can concentrate (and minimise distractions)
  2. Highlight the key parts
  3. Jot down any thought you have about the document – does it strengthen your opinion or contest it?
  4. Think about how you would use it in an essay

To check your understanding:

  1. Summarise the document in a few sentences
  2. Explain what it was about to someone else

Don’t: Think you need to remember everything – only focus on what is relevant for you and understanding the key parts

Next Step

The next step is a quiz – to be able to answer the quiz you will need to read the large document which you can find in the ‘downloads’ section below this article.

© The University of Law
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