Some good study advice

As should be clear to you all by now, there's a lot of research and reading that goes on as a necessary part of this activity. One of the great things about this endeavor is that you get an opportunity to engage your research in ways that aren't typical in standard course curricula.

To that end, I feel that it's important to pass on a few crucial study skills that I recommend you take on as part of your preparation for tournaments. The more time you put in developing these skills and habits the better off you'll be both in competition and in your academic life.

This particular set of skills applies to reading and taking notes about what you've read. It's important that you start doing both of these things on a regular basis. Nothing will guarantee your success more thoroughly than to become a good, engaged, regular reader.

First up, a pair of really great articles from Stepcase Lifehack on How to Read Like a Scholar and Keeping an Academic Reading Journal. These are two articles that I think do a great job explaining the process of reading for critical engagement. The reading you do and the notes you take will be invaluable to you as a resource well beyond forensics (and you never know when something you read in one of your classes will come in handy in forensics as well...)

The final article that I wanted to post is an article about the process of speed reading. The article offers some practical advice for learning to read rapidly, and claims to be able to increase your speed 300% in a very short (several hours at most) amount of time. It helps you to learn to read for comprehension without the need to subvocalize each word.

Finally, the last thing I would recommend is to get yourself a good dictionary, if you don't have one already. Dictionary.com is cool and all, but sometimes nothing beats a good solid copy of the Oxford English Dictionary. Half Price Books, near Superstition Springs Mall on Power and Southern, almost always has a big fat stack of them that they're selling for no more than about $5. I find the dictionary to be an absolutely invaluable tool when I'm reading. There are a bunch of cool high-tech tools, and I will post about some of them in future, but sometimes a good solid heavy dictionary is just exactly what the situation calls for. BONUS PROTIP: Debaters often have use for good philosophical and legal dictionaries as well. If you can find a good price on them you might pick up the Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Ed. Ted Honderich) and Black's Law Dictionary as well.

Happy Reading!