Study Guide Introduction
Anyone exploring a new and unfamiliar territory can benefit from having a guide: someone who can show the way and point out the important sights. For students exploring the field of psychology for the first time, this volume can be that guide. Psychology covers an immensely broad array of topics, from the firing of individual neurons in the brain through the experiences of individuals struggling with addiction to the problems of prejudice and discrimination. It is all fascinating (who isnít fascinated by the complexities of our fellow humans?), but it can sometimes be difficult to sort out what is most important in reading the book and preparing for the tests. That is why we developed this study guide.
Inside you will find one section for each of the seven units in the course. In each unit there are 20 learning objectives, which are defined by the pages and section headings included from the textbook. Under each objective is a list of questions. The answers to the questions are not given here; they can be found in the text, on the indicated pages. These questions are also linked with our test bank. If you are able to answer all these questions on your own (in your own words, without referring to the book or to notes), then you should do well on the tests.
There are many successful ways to use this study guide, but here is one system that can work effectively. This system follows the PQ4R system given in the preface to the textbook.
- Begin studying the unit by reading the opening few paragraphs and then flipping through it, looking at the section headings and figures, to get a general idea of what will be covered. This preview stage will help you absorb the material, since you will already have a sense for what you will be learning.
- After your preview, begin working through the unit one learning objective at a time. You will need to budget the time to work through all 20 objectives before you take the first test on the unit. Donít try to do it all at once. If you find that your concentration wanders after you work through a few objectives, you need to take a break and work on something else for a while.
- Before beginning on an objective, identify in the text where it begins and ends, and then read the questions for that objective in the study guide. This will give you a more specific idea about what you will be learning in this objective. This question stage will also serve to help focus your reading, because as you read you will be looking for the answers to each question.
- Read the sections in the book for that one learning objective. Donít try to read huge chunks of the book at one time, because it will be difficult to sustain your concentration for such a long time. By breaking your studying up into manageable pieces, you can keep your mind focused.
- As you read, keep an eye out for the answers to the study guide questions. Each time you identify material that answers one of the questions, stop to think about it. Try to think of how you would explain that information to someone else who has not read the book. Think of examples of your own that relate to the topic. By reflecting on the material in this way as you read it, you will slow down the flow of information and will remember it better later.
- Once you have figured out a good way to answer one of the study guide questions, stop and write down that answer. (It will be helpful at the next stage if you write the answers on a separate piece of paper from the questions.) Include your own examples and your own words as much as possible. Look over what you have written and think about the question and its answer. Try to recite the answer without looking at what you have written. This will help your memory for the material form. If you find that you canít figure out the answer to some of the questions, you can get help from your professor or one of the tutors in the Psychology Learning Center.
- After you finish reading the sections for a learning objective, review what you have learned. Read the questions and think of the answers without looking at them. (This is why it is best if the answers are on separate pages from the questions. Just recognizing the answers when you see them wonít be enough; you have to remember them without looking.) Repeat this a few times until you are able to remember the answers without a problem.
- Continue to review previous objectives each time you study. Start each session by going back over the questions and answers from previous objectives, testing yourself without looking at the answers. After you have read the entire unit, and have written out answers to all the questions, have a friend test you as you go through all the questions for the unit. Repeat this review several times, spread out over a few days, before you take the test.
This process may seem complex and time-consuming. Notice, though, that it only involves reading the textbook once. If you spend the effort up front, reading it carefully and thinking about the questions as you read, it will pay off in not having to read it over and over. You will instead spend the time and energy in reviewing your notes, which will give you the most benefit in terms of improved learning.
Remember, we are here to help you learn this material and be successful in this course. You can always see your professor or one of the tutors in the Psychology Learning Center for help.
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