Studying at university can be a juggling act, with competing demands and deadlines. That’s why it’s important to get the most out of your reading in the limited time that you have available. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about how much you have to read at university, check out these useful tips from the Library’s Honey Labs Writing Support service.  

You can manage the reading load if you read strategically and critically. Start with your course reading list. Become a strategic reader by reading with a purpose:  

  • Be selective by asking questions about what you need to find out. Then select readings that relate to your questions and tasks.  
  • If you are reading for a specific assignment, keep a copy of the question/task nearby so you don’t waste time reading irrelevant material. 

Read with purpose using the six steps of SQ4R: 

  • Survey the text to gather the information you need to form goals for reading.
  • Question—turn the title, headings and subheadings into questions and ask yourself what you want to learn from reading this text.
  • Read—answer the questions as you read. 
  • Reflect—ask yourself how new information fits with what you already know. 
  • Recite—note things to remember and say them in your own words. 
  • Review—quiz yourself on the main points. 

Become a critical reader by forming a deeper understanding of key texts. This involves first understanding the author’s ideas and then reflecting upon them. You should question and evaluate the arguments and evidence provided to support those ideas, and then try to form your own opinions.  

  • Before you read, establish what you already know. You can read more effectively when linking new material to your experience and prior knowledge.  
  • When taking notes, it can help to draw out the information in a visual form, using a mind map, diagram or flow chart. 

Want to know more about how you can improve your academic writing skills? This trimester, Megan and Kylie from the Honey Labs are running café meet-ups on a campus near you.  

Café meet-ups on Mondays 10 am

  • Coffee Major (Gold Coast) 4 April  
  • Cafe Rossa (Nathan) 16 May  
  • The Library Cafe (South Bank) 6 June  

Or why not join the Honey Labs [email protected] Organisation, where you can find customised content created to support your writing. You can self-enrol at You can email Megan and Kylie any time at [email protected]