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Learning Skills

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At the beginning of each quarter, students everywhere vow that this will be the quarter they get themselves organized; this time they will complete their reading assignments before going to class, just as every teacher they've ever known has suggested. By about the third week, however, reality dawns on the students, and what remains is frustration and guilt for failing to meet a commitment made to themselves. A more realistic and rewarding approach to the problem is a simple method for class preparation that is quick and easy and provides nearly the same benefits as the arduous reading of voluminous portions of text.

Here's how it works:

DO NOT READ THE TEXT BEFORE LECTURE! Instead, on the night before a class, copy the major headings or chapter titles from the text assignment onto a small card. For sections which are long, place a check or star next to the title.

Take this card to the lecture and keep it visible while taking notes. When the lecturer talks about a topic listed on the card, put a check next to the title. If the lecturer is talking about a topic not on the card, be sure to take complete notes.

When studying the material for the class, use the card as a guide. Topics with a star and a check are covered both in lecture and in the text, and are probably important to know. Topics in your notes, but not listed on the card, will require either reliance on notes alone, or a trip to the library for another reference. Topics listed on the card, but with no check from lecture, are probably supplementary unless the lecturer has indicated otherwise.

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