Getting through your uni reading list can be difficult. I know, I’ve been there. I recently graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in English Literature and Philosophy, so I know a LOT about reading a LOT! When you first get to uni the amount of reading you’re expected to do for your course can seem overwhelming. But I’ve got your back and am going to tell you everything I did to get through my course reading! Make sure you read to the end as I save my top tip for last!
Plan Your Reading Ahead
This one can be difficult if you’re in first year and don’t know what books you need to read until the last minute. However, I’d recommend looking up the reading lists for your first choice university. If you’re already at uni this will be a lot easier!
Once you know your modules, get the reading list – even if this means emailing that scary lecturer you haven’t met yet! This way you’ll know exactly what you’ll be reading over the coming months. Once you have this you’re good to go.
One perk of looking at your list early is that you can get ahead with buying your books. Personally, I tended to buy my books for English Lit second hand (otherwise it gets super expensive)!
But the main reason is once you have this list, and you’ve bought (or borrowed) your books you can get reading. I always tried to tackle the big books first! I tended to read most of my books for university in the Summer (yes even the ones for the following Spring term). This means you’re completely ahead of the game and have lots of time during term for any extra reading (or just going and having some fun with your friends)!
Try an Audiobook
I know audiobooks can sound a little juvenile, until this year I hadn’t listened to one since I was a kid! But they’re a really easy way to get through your reading list! I liked using them for any extra reading my lecturers suggested.
I’d pop the book on 1.25, or 1.5 speed (however fast I could bear listening to) and get on with doing other things at the same time as consuming the book. These other things ranged from anything to doing my makeup in the morning, to driving to my grandparents’ house. If you’re like me, and have to constantly have some form of noise, this is a great option for getting through that uni reading!
Make Time for Reading
One of the biggest challenges of getting through your course reading will be time limits! That’s why it’s important to make time for reading, just like you would for writing an essay. Some people like to schedule chunks of time that they will dedicate to getting through their current book. Personally, I take a more relaxed approach.
I like to read when I would otherwise be doing something not so productive. So when I was eating breakfast I would read alongside it. If I was cooking dinner, I would read whilst stirring my pasta. If I was at between lectures I would sit down in the cafe (I miss the chai lattes of the Cardiff Uni cafe’s already!) and read. I’m someone who likes to relax before bed and this would often involve listening to music or watching YouTube videos, so when I was at uni I’d replace this with reading a book.
You Don’t Always Have to Read in Depth
I know that when I have my English Lit brain on I read really slowly. I like to digest every word and process every little detail. But you’re not going to write on every book you read in a semester. On my course we studied 10+ novels per module and for the most part we’d only write on three of them. Quite often you’ll be able to get your summative assessment questions from your lecturer before the module has even started as they tend to have these decided ahead of time. By doing this you can decide which question you like best and which novels you think will suit it most. Then just read these ones in depth, and read the others like you normally read books for enjoyment!
Pick Your Literature Modules Wisely
Still don’t think you can get through all that reading? Well worry not, I’ve saved my best tip until last. This is something I did in both my second and third year to ensure I wouldn’t be drowning in words. Simply, make sure you choose some poetry modules as well as prose. Poetry, for the most part, is shorter than prose and so easier to get through!
Now Get Reading!
I hope you found this post useful and are able to put some of my tips into use to power through your university reading! If you have any other tips that may help someone else feel free to leave them in the comments! If you prefer video content I also made a video on how to get all your uni reading done too!
About Katie May
Katie May is a recent English Literature and Philosophy BA graduate. She enjoys creating content about her interests and hobbies, everything from university life, to beauty, to her journey with a chronic illness.