Mar 2017

Strategies for Reading Textbook

March 14, 2017

Studying for physics, and not sure if you’re getting it right? There’s an art to reading a textbook efficiently and effectively, as opposed to just skimming it or getting too bogged down in the details. Fortunately, we’re here to help you get it right with our expertise in JC physics tuition.

Why do I need this particular skill?

Let’s face it. If you are studying physics, you will be told to read a textbook. It’s simply part of the learning model for all the sciences.  It’s not a bad model, as textbooks are there to act as both your reference guide and your teacher, to inform and educate you.
However, they aren’t structured to tell a story, they are organizing scientific evidence sensibly by topic. There will be a form of logic to the grouping- they aren’t going to put simple concepts at the front of the book and launch straight into the hard stuff.

What’s my best reading strategy?

You are probably best when you skip to the questions at the back of each chapter first. Read them, think about them and answer them as best as you can first. This will stimulate the brain to look out for those answer and help you retain facts.
You may also skim through the headlines and subheadings, so you are more acquainted with how the chapter is laid out and will be progressing.
Why do all of this? Because this way you will be fully aware of the scope of the chapter and the information you most need to understand it. You will be primed to see the big picture throughout the chapter.

What’s the most important thing to take from my textbook?

A textbook is a thorough document designed to give all the facts- it’s a reference book. You aren’t going to need every fine detail in there. Make sure you fully understand the key and core concepts of each chapter. You can do this by looking for the ‘big ideas’ of each chapter, the key themes; and then spending some time making sure you have all the ‘details’ to support it.

Don’t rely on the textbook to babysit you

You should, ideally, read a chapter once while making notes, and go back to those notes after that [not the book]. Of course, we mostly don’t do that- but that’s using the book as a crutch. Try and school yourself to read effectively and get those key components down on paper from the start.
This is a great way to learn to engage thoroughly with your material and use the textbook as the tool when going for your physics tuition in Singapore.

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