History is a subject which requires students to work independently a great deal of the time, and to do a lot of reading. As such, it is advisable to develop efficient study skills, in order to ensure that you are well prepared for classes and essays, and ultimately exams. Reading skills
The volume of reading that you will be required to do means that it is important to be able to develop skills to enable you to acquire information and assess arguments fairly quickly. Successful students will be able to identify the most relevant passages, sections and chapters within the articles and books they read, not least through judicious use of contents pages and indexes, and to recognise that not every item on a given reading list will need to be read in its entirety, or read with the same level of intensity throughout. Good writers will guide readers through their work, and their approach, along with the main points of their argument, ought to be discernible fairly quickly.
Successful students will also be those who are able to develop efficient note taking skills. The key is to take neither too many nor too few notes, and to ensure that these notes are clear, accurate, and logically organised. Ensure that your notes record thoroughly the details regarding the source from which they are taken, in terms of the author, title, date, and so on, as well as in terms of page numbers. This will guarantee that you will be able to footnote correctly (see below), and save a great deal of time if you find it necessary to revisit particular sources for clarification and further elucidation. It will also serve to protect you from unintentional plagiarism (see below), particularly if you ensure that your notes indicate very clearly when you have quoted directly from a given author.
Given the pressure on library resources, students need to persevere in order to obtain the required readings for seminars and essays, but this...