What Is Important?

The answer to this question is another question: “What grade are you seeking?” or, better still, “How important is this subject for your later life?” If you want an A, you have to assume that every detail is important! What is usually meant is this: “What should I concentrate upon to assure myself of passing or getting a reasonably high grade?” Here are some points:

  1. Chapter Headings should be memorized, usually in their proper order. Maintaining the proper order homework help sustain a flow of logical ideas.
  2. Paragraph headings, when named, should be associated with their meanings. (See L, below.)
  3. Illustrations, graphs, tables, and diagrams. Because these cost more to prepare for publication than straight type-setting, they are carefully selected. Each one tells a story which would be at least as long as a page of type. Study each one as long as you would to get the sense from a page of type.
  4. Quotations from other sources, except footnotes, perhaps. In some
    courses, footnotes are important, too. Note who is being quoted.
  5. Theories, with evidence, pro and con. Best-supported theory.
  6. Names of people, with their connections to events and theories or
    other ideas.
  7. Events and ideas themselves.
  8. Lists. Lists are usually summaries of longer discussions. You should relate items in the list to segments of the text where they are discussed.
  9. Steps in a process. The exact sequence is important, of course.
  10. Comparisons and associations. These occur as questions in all types of examinations. They are especially prevalent in objective exams. Compare A with B, A with C, B with C, or each with D, etc.
  11. Review questions at the end of each chapter. Merely reading such questions is not sufficient! Here is a free “pretest test.” These questions can give you a big edge in anticipating the exam contents. Write out the answers and count this time as part of your study time.
  12. Definitions: The proper way to define a word is first to classify it, then distinguish and restrict it within that class, and then separate it from others close to it within that class. Finally, one rounds out the definition with a description and adds an example. For example: A dog is a mammal, which is land-living, flesh-eating, and has a long muzzle and claws it cannot retract (these two separate is from the cat). It is a domesticated relative of wolves and coyotes, and an example is the German shepherd dog. Too often, all that is given is an example. And there is a widespread idea current among poorly trained people that there is something improper about requiring a memorized definition. This belief is even more prevalent when it comes to memorizing the exact wording of a natural law or a precise statement of fact. From the practical standpoint, it is important to know the precise meanings of things, because objective exam questions particularly stress precision by giving several approximate definitions from which you must pick exactly the right one. Besides this, precision leads to clear thinking.

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