If you have to read several chapters all at once, chances are you won't have the time to read as slowly and thoroughly as you might like. Step one is to take a deep breath and try to relax. Staying calm and focused will go a long way toward helping you to absorb as much as possible in a short amount of time.
Basically, you're going to need to approach these chapters as though you were doing a follow-up review, instead of reading them for the first time. Here are some techniques you can try:
- If you have notes from class, review them first and quiz yourself on any key points that your teacher has mentioned about the reading assignment. As you read, look for these key points and pay special attention to them.
- Look at the review questions (if any) in the book to get an idea of what the textbook author thought was important. As you skim the reading assignment, look for answers to these questions.
- Look over any subheadings that appear in the chapters and think about what you don't know about the subject. Think about which topics are the most foreign to you or the most difficult to grasp and spend a little more of your reading time on those areas.
- As you read, ask yourself the six main journalism questions, and see whether you can answer them about the topic. The questions include the following: What? Who? When? Where? Why? How?
In the end, you'll just have to skim through the assigned chapters as thoroughly as you can with the time available. Take a look at the clock and designate a certain amount of time to spend on each section. At the very least, try to read the first and last sentence of each paragraph.
If possible, take the time to write out an outline of the chapters, making note of the main ideas. Break each chapter into sub-headings for each major topic, and then jot down one or two key facts for each one. Just before class, look over your outline to remind yourself of what you've read.