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Annotating involves highlighting or underlining key pieces of text and making notes in the margins of the book.
If you’ve picked up any of our study guides you might have already noticed the extra space on the margin of most pages. This is intentional to encourage you to annotate. Write down the main points and record your thoughts as you read.
Even if you regularly understand and remember what you read, annotating will help you summarise a text, draw out essential pieces of information, and coincidentally develop your stimulus interpretation skills.
Annotating means that you are actively reading, allowing you to reference the text and have a clear jumping-off point for future reading.
Some Annotating Strategies
As you annotate, use these strategies to make the most of your efforts. These are some strategies I still use today:
- Underline key ideas and major points.
- Write a question mark (?) next to anything confusing, such as unfamiliar words or unclear information.
- Circle keywords or phrases.
- Put an exclamation point (!) next to surprising information or information that helps you make a connection.
- If you use highlighters, consider using different colours for different types of reactions to the text. Example: Yellow for definitions, orange for questions, and red for disagreement/confusion.
- Dedicate a different task to each margin: Use the left margin to outline the text (i.e. tips, advice, important information, etc.), and use the right margin to record your thoughts, questions, and reactions to the text.