LEARNING FROM A TEXTBOOK
Sitting reading a textbook may not make the most efficient use of your study time. However, the text remains an invaluable study aid. In many cases we are asked to read a number of pages in preparation for a lesson, or to read these pages as reinforcement for a lesson already taught. The problem is, to convert the passive activity of reading into an active learning experience so that we can use the experience to gain knowledge, understanding and consequently a better mark in the subject area.
Begin your reading with a quick survey of the material to be read. Ask yourself how this material fits into the previous lessons and assignments in the subject. Develop questions involving what you think are the main points in the section you have just read. Headings, sub-titles and the introduction to each chapter will often help you choose these questions.
Carefully read the material. Make a summary as you go. Do not copy whole sentences; ideas in point form are just fine. Some people add page numbers as extra reference points in case they want to look back at important facts. While you are summarizing, try to remember what you have learned. Do not go back and re-read whole sections at this time because this will break your thought pattern.
Compare your summary notes with class notes if the work has already been covered in class. If you are reading ahead of the lesson, leave room at the bottom of the summary sheet to add notes or facts learned in class.
Once you have done this, review the material immediately. Go over key expressions and words, ask your questions and see if you can answer them without looking at your summary notes. Do you fully understand the important points? It is much easier to memorize facts that you understand.
After two weeks review the material again, and then again in preparation for a test or
examination. With this technique, you could find your marks improving steadily. One method of remembering these steps for effective studying is known as SQ3R.
S - Survey or quick look.
Q - Question yourself about the section.
R - Read the section, summarize as you go.
R - Recite or record what you have learned.
R - Review after summarizing and again in two weeks.
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