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Tertiary Access Course Guide: Critical Reading & Note-taking

Critical reading & note-taking

Critical reading and academic writing are core skills you will develop as you progress through university. They are a prerequisite for nearly every tertiary level degree and are in high demand in the workforce.

Steps to success

  1. Know what you are looking for: Read the assessment task, assessment rubric and identify the main concepts in your question.
  2. Find the right type of material: At Uni this is generally scholarly, peer reviewed items. Using One Search is often the most effective way for a first year student to find scholarly items. Select Scholarly & Peer Review as a filter on the left hand side of your search results.
  3. Take notes when reading: Use a method like the Cornell note-taking method. Use dot points for the main ideas so you can write them in your own sentences later.

Getting Help

The Learning Centre is the primary support for critical reading and writing at each campus. They have useful handouts on Effective Reading, Note-taking and many more.

Students can also access an online service called Studiosity that provides feedback on writing. You can access Studiosity within your Learn JCU subject in the Books and Tools section.

Use One Search to find print and online resources on critical reading and academic writing skills. 


Critical notetaking: Cornell method

Critical reading means reading with purpose. Having a note-taking method helps you to focus your thinking, track your research process and record the details of the sources you used for your reference list.

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