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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Reading remedies

PSYCHO TALK Has all that you have read so far been evading your memory? Maybe you have not been doing it right.



Here’s a psychological technique to gain your grip on the content of a textbook. Unsuccessful students tend to read right through the material whether or not they understand. By contrast, successful students monitor their understanding, go over difficult sections a few times, and periodically review what they have learnt thus engaging in deeper levels of processing information than others. They are able to relate better to every new piece of information to what they already know.

Research on memory suggests two specific guidelines for reading a textbook. First, make sure that you understand what you are reading before moving on, and second, use the PQ4R method. PQ4R stands for six activities to engage in a given order while reading a textbook: preview, question, read, reflect, recite, and review.

Preview: When ready to go, spend a few minutes to skim the material, taking a close look at the headings, boldfaced, italicized terms etc. This will give you a general idea of what will be discussed, the way different sections are organized, and how topics relate to one another and to what you already know.

Question: After previewing the material, ask yourself what will be covered and what information you will get from it.

Read: Now read the material, but think about it as you read. Have you left anything out without understanding? Are the questions you raised earlier being answered? Resist the temptation to move on too quickly.

Reflect: As you read, think up your own examples and create visual images of the concepts you’ve learnt. Writing down your own application of the concepts will help you much. It is important to pause in places to visualize the material you’ve covered, in a flow chart style. This keeps your mental organization of the material clear.

Recite: At the end of each section, recite the major points aloud in your own words.

Review: Finally, at the end of each chapter, review all the material. Here you should see connections within each section and also among different sections. Now visualize the whole chapter in a flow chart style. This will help you to see how the material is organized. This will help you remember the individual facts far more easily.

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(The Hindu, NXg, Mind Matters, 08:05:2008)




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