Reading a science textbook requires a different method than the usual
sequential page-by-page method you use for a novel or other book!
Your mind will need to have some sort of framework
or place holders to
store the information presented in a chapter. So you need to create
that framework first before you get to the meat of the
material. Read the ``headlines'' first---the chapter title and the
section titles. Scan the notes in the outermost column and look up
the definitions of the vocabulary terms in boldface type in the
glossary. Then read the Review Questions at the end of each section.
Note that all of this is done before you even read the chapter
material! Only after you have built the framework will your mind be
ready for the substance of the textbook.
After you have read a
section, then answer the Review Questions at the end. If you cannot
answer a question, then read through the section again to get the
answer. Clear up any confusion right then and there.
As you are reading the material, mentally process the information.
This means that you need to actively do something with the
information---anything that takes the material off the page and moves
it through your brain: saying it out loud in your own words,
summarizing it, fitting it into an outline, or explaining it someone
Record what you have learned and read. As a start of note-taking, you
can underline only the major points (key words and ideas only!). Then
write a brief summary of what you underlined---use the margins of the
text, separate pages, or note cards.
At first glance this technique may seem to take longer than
simply reading the text page-by-page. However, it vastly improves
comprehension of the material and actually saves time in the long run.
Rather than having to read the chapter several times and memorizing
the wrong things, you can get the correct understanding of the
material by reading the chapter once.
Your study time is much more efficient with this method and you will
do better on the exams. No need to cram for an exam (and
fail it!) if you ``study read'' the chapters.
Although these tips are addressed to my own students, most of these
tips will also apply to students at other schools.
Back to Great Expectations -- Go to
- Read each problem fully.
- Highlight all question sentences (ending with ``?'')---answer them.
- Highlight all sentences commanding you do something---do it.
- Pay attention to bold print or italicized print---it's important!
- When a problem asks ``why'' something happens, you need to explain
- Do not contradict yourself in your answer. Do not contradict yourself
from what you said or graphed in a previous problem in the assignment.
- Explain your answers in a way that a non-astronomy student could
understand. Your instructor grades only what you write down and he makes no
assumptions about what you ``meant to say''.
- Record in your notes comments your instructor makes about the
homework problems, especially those displayed on the board or
- Come for an office visit before the homework is due (even
to check that you are on the right track). There is a strong correlation
between office visits (before due date) and high homework scores.
- Do the assigned reading.
- Look over the key posted outside the instructor's office---very helpful
when studying for the exam. Keys are also available at the Library Reserve
- Use the Learning Center for help: Basic Skills Computer Lab has
very user-friendly software to help with your math and grammar. They also have
peer tutoring. If you have difficulty with the mathematics, ask for a MATH
tutor. If you have difficulty with a physics concept, ask for a PHYSICS tutor.
Use the tutors for getting the concepts. Use the computer lab for getting
August 31, 2013
Is this page a copy of Strobel's
Author of original content: