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The Fine Art of Skimming

Skimming comes in very handy when researching for a paper or for preparing to outline a chapter of the text. When you decide to skim a chapter, think about the following steps:

  • Look at the chapter title and see if you can rephrase it into a question. Answering this question can become your first goal in skimming.
  • Thumb through the chapter and look at all the pictures, graphs, charts and subheadings. This will give you a good idea of what the important points are in the chapter.
  • Now go back and carefully read any introductory material to the chapter, the chapter summary and any study questions found at the end of the chapter.
  • Go back to the first page of the chapter and start through it reading the first sentence of every paragraph to get the main point covered in each paragraph.
  • After you have finished reading the first sentence of each paragraph, think about what you have examined and whether you have an understanding of what you reviewed. Attempt to answer the study questions at the end of the chapter with some depth.
  • Write a chapter summary in your own words covering what you have learned from your examination.
  • Based on how well you answered the questions and what your summary looks like, decide whether or not you need to go back and read all or part(s) of the chapter in greater detail.

Becoming proficient in the fine art of skimming can save you considerable research and review time.


Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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