SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Reading Skills and Note-taking

The Reading Skills and Note-taking course runs for 5 weeks and aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness with which students deal with academic texts. Strategies will be introduced and practiced to enable students to gather and keep information more successfully. The course will be very practical and will maintain relevance by encouraging students to use material from their own academic studies as a basis for the classes.

Areas covered will include:
  • Identifying key ideas and following arguments
  • Selecting and prioritising information
  • Paraphrasing and summarising
  • Developing abbreviations
  • Laying out notes

Scope and syllabus

 This course is recommended for those who scored slightly lower in the reading subscore of their standardised English test, or who want to develop the basic skills of skimming, scanning, reading for detail, note-taking, paraphrasing and summary writing. Reading skills are closely related to reporting published works in writing. Students will be encouraged to engage with texts from their own reading lists. The reading and note-taking course is available in blocks 1, 2 and 3.


 The timetable will be available when the application form for each particular block is released. Please keep an eye out for the new application form for each block.

Suggested reading

Godfrey, J. (2013) How to use your reading in your essays. Palgrave Study Skills, London: Macmillan.

      Mosback, (1976)  
Practical Faster Reading,
      Cambridge: CUP
        Glendinning, E.  Holmström, B., (2004)
      Study Reading: A Course in Reading Skills for Academic
            Cambridge: CUP


          Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules