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This question is one that I’ve had plenty of personal debate about.

I virtually never do my reading assignments for class. I get good grades anyway. What are your thoughts on reading assignments? To me, they just take up so much time they’re hardly ever worth the trouble. I might end up doing the reading assignments but it’s usually whenever I feel like it instead of whenever it’s assigned.

Well… If it’s working alright for you then I certainly wouldn’t argue that you should change it.

Reading assignments are a complicated subject that deserve a little more time than a simple Q and A but I have some distinct feelings about them. This is more of a quick overview than an all out answer.

First of all, as a disclaimer, I love reading. I look for excuses to read. I enjoy it. That being said, I still virtually never did my reading assignments. I’d often go through whole books relying on the information I heard in the class about the book. I would occasionally pick the books up for the first chapter but I almost never read my assigned material in high school. In college, I limited my reading but I ended up doing a tad bit more.

Despite my love for reading, I hate reading assignments for class. It’s like getting a job eating birthday cake. Sure, it’s fun for the first 15 minutes but then you just get sick to your stomach and never want to eat birthday cake again.

The strange truth for most classes is that the reading assignments are optional when you’re a little creative. If you’re willing to actually look up summaries of the book you’re supposed to read then it’s virtually always “optional.” There are exceptions.

When it comes to reading assignments for literature then you can usually get away without reading them. If you read like the student reading a homework assignment then reading is virtually useless anyway. Most students end up “reading” while daydreaming through the books pages. That doesn’t give them all much information to work with anyway. A person with a general idea what happened will match the knowledge of 80% of the students that actually read the story.

In an ideal world, I’d recommend focusing and reading through your reading assignments for literature. As I’d recommend doing all your homework. For more info on homework read Skip Your Homework (Sometimes). Sure, I skipped reading assignments and didn’t do too bad for it in high school but in college when I picked up some actual reading of my assignments, at the very least, I felt more confident doing the work. When you don’t do the reading it’s kind of like tightrope walking. You may have a general idea but you can’t get too aggressive with your statements or you risk giving away your ignorance.

When it comes to textbook reading assignments, you can virtually always skip a full out reading. Textbooks have their value in fact collecting but they’re not all that useful for deep reading. It’s too easy to lose focus and forget everything that your eyes glazed over while you were supposedly reading your assigned pages.

Naturally, I’m not going to say to never read your reading assignments. It often comes down to some very individual questions. Some people can “bs” their way through virtually anything. If you don’t need to read the reading assignments to get a good grade then those reading assignments could be a serious waste of time. Some people aren’t so good at faking it with limited information.

I might even make a case for skimming all reading assignments. I’d usually recommend playing it however you feel comfortable.

Yes… A study blog that isn’t encouraging you to do all your assigned work… Good luck getting advice like this from your teachers.

Do you want to know how to study in less than 15 minutes a night? That’s what this blog is all about. Be sure to follow and check out the archives. Also, the ebooks in the sidebar can teach you how to master your memory and studying strategies even faster.

Q/A – Should You Do Your Reading Assignments?

How You Will Get Straight-A’s – Impress Teachers – And Having People Beg You To Tutor Them (And It Will Be Easier Than What You’re Doing Now)

Ever met a dope that still scored higher than you?

I know I did. And, believe it or not, it’s more common than you think.

Despite what you have been told, hard-work and intelligence are not the keys to good grades. In a study by Karpicke of Purdue University and Roediger, III of Washington University showed the right strategy can get you remembering 2.35 things for every minute of focused studying you’re doing now.

If you study wrong, you could be plummeting your grade by 67% (or more if you’re using a worse than normal strategy.) And many of the wrong strategies are one’s you’ve been taught to do your whole life!

Once I discovered this for myself, my whole world changed. I got C’s and D’s in highschool. In college, I was near the top of my class for my Engineering degree. Freshman year in college, I knew I had to spread the word.

I worked with one student (D.L, I’ll call him for soon-to-be obvious reasons.) He was going back to college after getting out of prison on a drug charge. He was retaking his English class – with the same teacher. A couple weeks into the semester, the professor pulled him aside and asked him, “how the hell some prison teacher could make him that much better – that fast?”

It wasn’t the teacher.

It makes sense the teacher wondered that. The changes that can take place when you change strategies are astounding.

Every minute you study ineffectively is wasted. Your grades may go up a little but it’s a losing battle. Effective studying skyrockets your scores faster – giving you more time to:

  • Learn more than you ever imagined
  • Improve your health, well-being, and non-academic life
  • Enjoy your time the way you want to

My book How To Study Happier teaches this strategy that let students memorize 2.35 things for every one they would normally memorize. Plus, it gives you dozens of other strategies and stories that can put you on the path to academic enjoyment – instead of just surviving. (And remember, no matter where you are in your journey, it just gets harder from here. Be prepared!)

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I want to help you. Put it on me to prove it. Please give me that chance.

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2 thoughts on “Q/A – Should You Do Your Reading Assignments?

  • March 10, 2020 at 9:27 am

    I really appreciate your help with my project!

  • February 12, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    I totally agree with you. I find that with all the other classes I take on that my reading assignments take up too much time, and at the end of the day I don’t have time. For instance in my English class we are reading the help, but by the end of the day I am exhausted and have other homework to do. Then once I am done with that homework it is very late and if I start reading my book I will end up falling asleep. Even though I don’t do all my reading assignments I start have a 94% average in the class. It is all about focusing in class.


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