Active reading is a technique that is often used by students to deeply engage with the concepts and ideas from important text books. This is a method of reading with the intention of summarising the most important information by engaging with said content through the following 5 reading strategies.
Pseudo Skimming is a technique through which you can skim through a large volume of data or a large body of information and parse it down to the barest essentials. This is done by simply skimming through each paragraph and only noting the most important word or sentence in that whole work. This is usually done in textbooks which tend to have a lot of filler material that will serve to highlight the importance or illustrate the concept and as such is not technically relevant for your study. For example, Please refer to the balloon experiment illustrated in NCERT Class XI Geography- ‘Fundamentals of Physical Geography’ to illustrate the Big Bang Hypothesis.
So as you would with a lot of the younger class NCERTs, skim the unimportant paragraphs until you find one with bold words or those paragraphs illustrating important ideas or concepts.
Interest Driven Reading:
While it may be the norm to reach from Chapter 1 to Chapter 10 in order. You don’t necessarily have to. You just need to have an understanding of the topic at hand so you can jump to the chapter that interests you and skip across topics in any order without having to be bogged down by linearity.
You can also do the same within the confines of the specific chapter. This often means looking to the back through the book back exercises. In books like Spectrum and NCERTs, the back of the books tend to be invaluable as they contain tons of ideas, concepts, questions about the important parts of the lesson. If you read the book end exercises first, you’ll have a bird’s eye view on the topic’s highlights.
Form a Question Bank:
This next tip is tailor made for students of Polity. Polity has so many nuances and nitty gritties which tend to fall through the cracks and leave one confused. By following this tip you can ensure that you are able to pinpoint all the relevant details regarding the topics.
As you read the polity textbook, i.e., Laxmikanth, you can note down questions related to the topic you’re reading. This will not only give you a question bank to test yourself on later but also be a reliable way to revise and reinforce what you have already read as yet.
While this tip is especially well suited for Polity, it can also aid with your study of the varied topics for UPSC as well.
Pay attention to those things that stand out in the formatting of your text books- bold items, italics, color coded boxes of information. All of these are designed to highlight the importance of topics and remain relevant and important to this day.
The above were a few guiding strategies for active reading. These will aid you in the course of study across multiple subjects and will help you engage in a varied approach to studying. These will not merely help you learn concepts and ideas but to get a grasp and feel for them beyond what rote memorization or mere reading will endow you with.