Friday, June 25, 2010

An Effective Textbook Study Strategy

Everyone looks for ways to be more successful. American executives strive to compete with aggressive foreign competitors, teachers seek ways to enrich student learning, and students, like you, search for ways to improve academic performance.

So, how can you, like a company president or a college professor, improve your chances for success? First, realize that whether your goal is to improve performance on a widget production line or a sociology final exam, the basic blueprint can be the same: you plan what you need to do; you implement your plan; you review how well you did. Then, since goals such as zero defects or, in your case, understanding more of what you read, can't always be met the first time you complete your plan, you view reading as a cycle instead of a one-shot activity.

PLAN: Pre-Reading Strategies

Establish a good physical environment
Relax and set a positive attitude
Review instructions
Review lecture notes
Set your purpose
Preview the assignment
Organize your thoughts
Determine what you want to know when you finish reading

DO: Reading Strategies

Be actively involved
Check your comprehension as you read
Restate ideas in your own words
Form mental pictures
Compare what you are reading to what you know
Answer the questions you developed during pre-reading
Fix-up your comprehension when needed
Define unfamiliar words
Keep problem on hold and hope it will clarify itself
Re-read a portion of the text
Compare information with notes or another source
Ask someone for help

REVIEW: Post-Reading Strategies

Consolidate and integrate information
Answer questions
Test yourself
Participate in a study group
Space review over time
Decide what else you need to know

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