The SBS Student Blog

Life as a student at Stockholm Business School

Keeping afloat with college textbooks.


Hej hej!

Quirky topic for the day: tips and tricks to reading college textbooks

We all know that there’s a whole lot of reading in college- and that includes loads of tough ones that may be hard to digest at first. Just going through the numerous complex paragraphs packed on information-loaded pages is hard enough, let alone actually breaking down everything you’re reading and actually understanding it all. But with a few good tips, it is definitely a mission well-worth conquering. Now let’s talk about how.

  1. Don’t postpone it– I know many of us think, “oh, I’ll read it all this weekend, I’ll catch up quickly, it’s not that much to read,” but trust me when I say- it certainly is! Even getting through a few pages a day is better than putting it all off the night before a seminar or exam.
  2. Place yourself in a good environment– this could be your desk where you usually study at, a study room at the library- as long as it is somewhere where distractions are minimized (it doesn’t have to be somewhere with total silence as I know many of us actually are distracted by silence itself- myself included).
  3. Skim before diving in– what does this mean? Quickly preview what your’e about to read, skim the introductions, the summaries at the end of the chapters, as well as all the bolded key words to get a feel for what’s to come ahead.
  4. Take notes (including questions you may have)- whether it’s on a piece of paper or on Evernote on your computer, outline some main ideas to keep track of what you’ve been reading to help you understand and remember it all better.
  5. Look up words you don’t understand– this one is self explanatory, wouldn’t you say? If you don’t know what you’re reading means, you’re sure not going to understand the text fully. However, I would like to point out that the goal is never to understand everything 100%, because come on- how many of us do?
  6. Read together– be it with friends or family, find someone that help you keep focus by making an activity out of it- quiz each other, ask questions- the insight just from talking about what you read will help you remember it that much more.

Last, but certainly not least,

    7. Take breaks! God knows how difficult it can be to concentrate on a difficult task for an extended amount of time. Plus, it’s        been shown that taking breaks every 20 minutes can help to keep your focus and actually stay more productive as opposed to not.

Well, there! I hope you save these tips for those times when you think you can’t possibly finish all that complicated reading in your college textbooks (or lengthy articles…) that our lovely professors love to assign. But you can! It’s not mission impossible, as much as you’d like to think.

Until next time,



Author: oliviavonsydow

New York City - Sweden

2 thoughts on “Keeping afloat with college textbooks.

  1. Fantastic tips! Notetaking while reading, which is active reading, is the only way I retain anything. This is especially true if it’s a boring subject. I also need a certain setting such as total quiet so that I can concentrate. Another tip might be to keep your phone and other electronics away from you. Read for 45 minutes, then check out your texts and Twitter feed for 15 minutes. That works for me!