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Strategies for effectively reading from a textbook

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Textbooks are unique in terms of their purpose and the style of writing. To get the most out of reading a textbook, employ the following strategies.


  1. Preview: Scan through the assigned section. Read all subheadings, image captions and figure headings. This will make you curious as well as giving you a sense of the contents.

  2. Set a purpose: Be clear on the purpose of your reading. Is it to prepare in advance for what you will learn in class or is it to understand what was covered in class?

  3. Convert headings to questions before reading: for example, for Section D4.1.2 convert the heading to a question: What is the role of mutation and sexual reproduction in generating the variation on which natural selection acts? When you have finished reading the section, attempt to write the answer from memory to test your understanding.

Taken from:


Oxford Biology for the IB Diploma 2023. p. 743




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