Many college students read and reread text materials in a haphazard, unorganized manner and never quite grasp what the teacher or author intends. This information is intended to show you a method by which you may be able to study more effectively. By answering the questions following each passage correctly, you should get an idea of the correlation between organization and the development of memory and study skills.
These are a few simple steps that might help you study such textbook material.
1. Preview the chapter by reading the title, section headings, summaries, and looking at charts, maps, and graphs. Return to the beginning of the chapter and read section by section, following an ask-read-check sequence.
2. Ask a question from each section heading that you anticipate will be answered in that section using who, what, where, when, why, and how.
3. Read the section to answer the question(s), but be alert to any unanticipated information as well.
4. Check your understanding of each section by:
--Reciting to yourself answers to the questions you asked.
--Making mental notes of additional information not anticipated by your pre-formulated questions.
--Jotting down key words or brief phrases that will later cue your memory to the important elements of the section.
--Relating the section to previous and future sections and to the larger picture gained in the preview.
--Gauge the size of each section you handle by the difficulty you have understanding the material, the detail you are expected (or want) to retain from your reading, and the time you can afford to invest. At times you might deal with a full chapter as one unit; at other times you might move through the chapter a paragraph at a time.
5. Evaluate your understanding by looking at your notes and reciting to yourself everything you can remember about the chapter. If you did not jot down notes, after completing the chapter, evaluate your understanding by reciting to yourself everything you can remember about the chapter and writing briefly what is important for later review.
6. Relate what you have read to what you have learned elsewhere: other readings, class lectures, personal observations, etc.
PARCER is easy to describe, but more difficult to apply. However, application, not description, is the significant part. You will need to apply PARCER to at least five chapters of text before the systems feels comfortable to you. With each trial, evaluate yourself on the following points:
--Am I able to read and study more efficiently than last time?
--Do I check my understanding of each section without looking at the book?
--Are my check notes long enough to help me but short enough to conserve time and energy?
--When I evaluate my understanding of the chapter, do the check notes cue sufficient detail for my needs?
--Have I related the textbook material to the lecture, to any labs, and to what I already know?
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