Saturday, November 28, 2015

Guide to formulating questions

Formulating questions before reading a text helps you to transform into an active reader. That is why it is convenient to come up with questions before studying, so you may set an intention. Here are some of the ways to ask those questions:

Think of questions that may not be answered by a simple “yes” or “no”, or by a single word or date.

Asking questions that begin with:

· Why?
· How?
· What is the relation between…?
· What were the causes?
· What were the consequences?
· How did this influence that?

Some suggestions to have in mind:

-Asking a question for every paragraph or every two paragraphs.
-Writing your questions on the side of page next to where the answer is found.
-At the end of the text, ask a general question that may link all the questions you asked in this process.

How to elaborate a scheme?

Making a scheme implies organizing your ideas according to their relevance, from the most important to the least important.

Main idea à Detail
Theme or main idea à Detail

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ways to Think Better

·         Understand all tests and theories
·         Look for assertions without proof
·         Consider alternative proof
The proposed proof is forcibly selective.  Verify that it is a good selection through:
·         A list of proof used to back up the case
·         Another list of arguments that seem to contradict and conflict the proposed proof
·         Finally, comparing lists (I) and (II), decide if the argumentation and the proof need to be modified or not

Observe Proper Examples
Take the Argument to its Last Conclusions
Avoid Emotional Words and Sentences
The use of emotional words and sentences should be avoided since they will color and modify the events and proof in your argumentation.
Consider the Topic of Proof from all Possible Angles
Each problem should be focused from all possible angles as to avoid deformation by using only one point of view.
Problem Resolution
Resolving issues is probably the only method that can be used both to learn and auto evaluate what they have studied.  Since the resolution of a problem implicates the application of knowledge and ability, it serves to automatically test your ability to recognize what you have learned.
Analyzing the Problem
The first step in resolving a problem is understanding what the problem consists of.
Tentative Solution
There is no one concrete way to solve problems.  Ideas on methods of how to do this come from various paths and are invariably, in some sense, just guesses and intuitions.

The Solution to the Problem
When you find what seems to be the solution, you should take note very carefully.  Redact it in a logical way and very carefully justify each step that leads you to finding it.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

10 tips on how to understand and highlight better

· Start with enthusiasm
· Pre-set achievable goals before starting the reading. (For instance: “I’ll attentively read and highlight these two pages”.
· Read the titles before imagining or beginning to understand what this is about.
· Transform all titles into questions and highlight the possible answers in the text.
· Generally, what is written in Bold is important.
· Highlight all the words you think are essential. These words alone can give meaning to a whole paragraph.
·  Don’t highlight articles such as “the” and “a” or adjectives qualifying the key words.
· Stare at the pictures attentively, or any other graph, illustration or photograph (these tend to clarify ideas).
· When you encounter a word you don’t know, search in the dictionary or try to understand its general meaning by reading the whole paragraph.
· Understand that your opinion or point of view is very important when it comes to comprehend what you are reading.


When and where to study?

In order for studies not to become a troublesome burden, it is essential to create good habits that imply doing your homework everyday and not letting these tasks accumulate.

These are some of the suggestions:

1.    Choosing a time during the day.

2.    Choosing a place for studying at home. It is preferable if you use the same place every time you study. You need to have a place where you will be able to leave your things and materials used during your process of study. Make sure it is a calm and noiseless space.

3.    Setting (a) goal(s).

4.    Having a schedule and calendar with tasks in a visible location.


Having a study method means planning the steps you will take when you begin studying. This implies having organization so that you know what you will do first and what you will do after. Setting your priorities straight.

The method we suggest is comprised of the following five steps:

1.    Pre-reading
2.    Reading and identification of main ideas
3.    Organizing the information
4.    Using your memory
5.    Self-evaluation and preparing for exams.

1.    Pre-reading

Before beginning to read:
a.    Read titles, captions and any word written in Bold.
b.    Look at all the illustrations, pictures and graphs in the book.
c.    Ask these questions before reading the actual text:
What do you think this book is about?
What do you already know about this topic?

During reading:
a.    As you are reading the text, ask yourself:
Is this what I thought it would be?
Do I understand everything I am reading?

After reading:
a.    Ask yourself:
Did I understand what I read?
What new information did I learn from reading this?

2.    Reading and identification of main ideas
After having performed a pre-reading, it is important to detect all the relevant ideas expressed.
The main ideas of a text are those phrases/sentences that express the most relevant, important and what we must retain once we are done reading. In order to find these ideas, is it very useful to highlight with a pen or highlighter what seems relevant to us.

3.    Organizing the information
Once you have read and highlighted the text, you ought to work with the information you have gathered so it may store it in your memory.

a.    Drawing up a scheme
b.    Summarizing the content

Studying and Tests

Apply study techniques and prepare for the test.
Going over notes and work should have an important place in the study schedule. Regular sessions should be planned as so:
·         Start each study session going over the previous one
·         End each week by going over everything from the week
·         End each month by going over everything from the month
·         End every semester by going over everything from the semester
·         End the year by going over the whole year
This, each topic will be gone over five times, which will permit the strengthening of ability to memorize material and go over the connections made between the material itself and other topics.  After the first session, the ability to remember the learned material quickly disappears.  Going over something more than just once gives the ability to remember up to 100%.
Characteristics of Material to Go Over
In ideal circumstances, notes taken when studying something for the first time should be adequate to go over.  Use the final revision session in two ways.
Stage 1: Abbreviate notes
Stage 2: Go over the abbreviated notes
Characteristics of Learning Revision
Revising is simply going over material that was previously understood
Revision Methods
·         Auto-evaluate at regular intervals
·         Try some problems that had not been attacked beforehand
·         Write outlines for possible essays
·         Use memorization methods like reciting, reading, or simply verbally memorizing notes
·         Talk to someone about the topic
·         Verify your comprehension of the notes
·         Question yourself on what you learned

Preparing for Exams
At this stage in the present year, you should know enough to apply to exams.  But there are one or two additional points that should be considered:
Examining the Exam
Way before going to the exam, it is essential to know what type of exam it is
Practicing for the Exams
Be sure that the first part of testing or auto-evaluating is at least a month before the actual test.
The Real Exam
The preparation for this exam begins the day before.  You should have everything necessary ready.
Once the exam has started, you know the test and you should keep the following in mind:
First read the instructions carefully,
Answer the easiest questions first and the harder or more doubtful ones after.
Exams make anyone tense; under those circumstances, it is very easy to make mistakes.  That being, there should be time left to go over the test after it is finished.  This is much better and then remembering the answer to a question once you have already turned in the exam.

Learning Techniques

Get to know how to take notes and how to plan out an essay
Elaborating Notes
1. The Purpose of Notes
The fundamental purpose of notes is to help the memory.  The points chosen to be included in the notes should be enough to permit the reconstruction of the rest of the material.  Taking notes is one of the most important parts of reorganizing material.  One purpose of taking notes is that it helps concentration and effort, more than reading alone.  Active methods of learning, reading out loud and writing alike, promote learning and maintain concentration, much more than passive methods like reading and thinking.
2. The Characteristics of Good Notes
The notes should be clear and concise.  Once finished, they are the principal outlet for information.  They should be notes that can be understood from the beginning.  The fundamental characteristics are:
·         Brief
·         Clear
·         Comprehensible to their writer
3.  Elaborating Notes on Books
Notes/summaries should not be written on a book until its important parts have been read using the IQ3R method.  If the ideas cannot be re-exposed clearly, then it has not been fully understood.  The notes should register conclusions, results, etc.  For each chapter, in this way, the outline could look something like this:
·         Chapter headings
·         Important points in the chapter
·         Illustrations and arguments to defend positions
·         Results and conclusions from the chapter
4. Conference Notes
Taking notes on conferences or lectures requires more skill than taking notes on books.  Using a book, you can always go back over a specific point.  You should go over your notes as soon as possible so you can still correct them while the conference or lecture is still fresh in your memory.
5. Correcting Notes
The sangría system is a visual depiction in which you can find the information.  A large heading as wide as the page presents a new section.  A heading in the margin presents a new topic.  Following sangrías present subdivisions of the topic.  It is sometimes convenient to number the different divisions.
6. Organizing the Notes
One of the best outlines is to file individual pages.  To get the most advantage out of using single pages, you should write on only one side of the page and start new topics on new pages.

Expanding Vocabulary and Learning Techniques

Normal colloquial vocabulary ranges between 2,000 and 3,000 words.  The common person has a vocabulary potential ranging between 20,000 and 25,000 words.  In studying, you need a vocabulary of at least 25,000 words, and to satisfy, this range should approximate 40,000 words.  The following are a few strategies for enriching your vocabulary:
1. Expansive Literature
The best way to expand vocabulary is by reading expansive literature trying to find and define new words in different contexts.
2. Use of New Words
Without trying on behalf of the student, new words will make their way into the student’s vocabulary.  Nevertheless, there is much to be gained through the deliberate use of new words when they are first learned.
3. Check the dictionary
Occasionally, there while be words whose definition cannot be found using the context in which they are written.  Look up the word in the dictionary and write down its definition.  Go over these notes from time to time.
4. Other techniques
This means:
I Inspect
Q Question
R Read
R Remember
R Revise
The idea is that the reading is divided into 5 stages:
1.  Inspect
In the inspection of a book, pay attention to the following points:
·         Title
·         Author
·         Date of first edition and current edition
·         Index
·         Table of Contents
·         Familiarization
The inspection stage gives a general overview of what kind of book you are about to read.
2. Question
Before reading the book or a chapter, you should ask yourself what you hope to get out of it.  Why are you reading?  Which points particularly interest you?  These types of questions will help you read with a determined objective.
3. Read
If you are reading just one chapter, it may be better to read it twice at a regular speed before studying it in detail.  You should know the author’s general position in each chapter as well as the basic idea behind each paragraph.  After that, you can go into the details, the diagrams and illustrations, and then consider the author’s argument wholistically.
4. Remember
This stage implicates focusing your memory on the principle ideas of the reading that you should remember.
5. Review
This stage constitutes checking your memory.  Going over each chapter and testing your own accuracy on each.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Basic Principle of Thinking Clearly

The human ability to think is tightly tied to the ability to use words, symbols, and images.  The capacity to think is then related to the capacity in which we use  instruments: words, symbols, images, concepts, categories, definitions, etc.
The human being thinks through concepts.  A concept is a classification that helps to understand the world around.  Man forms concept to help him think with speed and clarity.  Concepts are made for communication and the success of that communication depends on the exactitude with which the concepts agree with each other.  Wrongly defined words impede clear thinking.
When studying, consistent criteria should be used to discern the true from the false.  We should abandon all ordinary justifications and hold all knowledge under the most rigorous test.  It is this doubtful attitude that should be placed before every test and all knowledge which we should adopt and cultivate in our studies.
People ignore the evidence that contradicts their ideas, and the more vigorously they sustain their ideas, the more reluctant they are to accept the evidence.  It is essential to use all evidence available when study and weigh them out to reach all conclusions and get the best of all of them.