How to get Good Grades in Exams

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INTRODUCTION The Psychology of Studying Eric Audras/PhotoAlto/Jupiterimages Well Hello There You’re actually reading this As your authors, we’re impressed. Too often, students just jump in and read a textbook from the first assigned chapter to the last. That’s a shame because a textbook needs to be studied, not just read. Think about it: How much do you typically remember after you’ve read straight through a whole textbook chapter? If the answer is “Nada,” “Zilch,” or simply “Not enough,” it may be because reading a chapter is not really the same as studying it. Even if you’re an excellent student, you may be able to improve your study skills. Students who get good grades tend to work smarter, not just longer or harder (Santrock & Halonen, 2007). To help you get a good start, let’s look at several ways to improve studying. 1 9 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 1 9111_00_intro_001-010.indd 1 1 10/14/08 12:17:35 PM 0/14/08 12:17:35 PM2 INTRODUCTION looking at topic headings, figure captions, and summaries. Try to get an overall picture of what lies ahead. Because this book is organized into short sections, you can survey just one section at a time if you prefer. Q  Question. As you read, turn each topic heading into one or more questions. For example, when you read the head- ing “Stages of Sleep” you might ask, “Is there more than one stage of sleep?” “What are the stages of sleep?” “How do they differ?” Asking questions helps you read with a purpose. R1  Read. The first R in SQ4R stands for read. As you read, look for answers to the questions you asked. Read in short “bites,” from one topic heading to the next, then stop. For difficult material you may want to read only a paragraph or two at a time. R2  Recite. After reading a small amount, you should pause and recite or rehearse. Try to mentally answer your ques- tions. Better yet, summarize what you just read in brief notes. Making notes will show you what you know and don’t know, so you can fill gaps in your knowledge (Peverly et al., 2003). The SQ4R Method — If you can’t summarize the main ideas, skim over each section How to Tame a Textbook again. Until you can remember what you just read, there’s little What’s the difference between reading a textbook and studying it? point to reading more. After you’ve studied a short “bite” of text, You have probably occasionally spent an evening just vegging out turn the next topic heading into questions. Then read to the fol- in front of a TV set. According to psychologist Donald Norman lowing heading. Remember to look for answers as you read and (1993), you were engaging in experiential cognition. This type of to recite or take notes before moving on. Ask yourself repeatedly, thinking occurs when you passively let an experience happen to “What is the main idea here?” you. There is nothing wrong with merely experiencing entertain- Repeat the question–read–recite cycle until you’ve finished an ment. But have you noticed that the next morning you often have entire chapter (or just from one Knowledge Builder to the next, if trouble remembering what you watched the night before? you want to read shorter units). In contrast, suppose one of the programs was about, say, global R3  Reflect. As you read, try to reflect on what you are reading. warming, and it really got you thinking. You might have wondered One powerful way to do this is to relate new facts, terms, and how global warming will affect your own future plans. You might concepts to information you already know well or to your have questioned some of the program’s more dire projections for own experiences. You’ve probably noticed that it is especially the future. You might have thought back to another program on easy to remember ideas that are personally meaningful, so global warming and remembered some different perspectives. try to relate the ideas you encountered to your own life. This Now you are “going beyond the information given” (Bruner, may be the most important step in the SQ4R method. The 1973). For Norman (1993), this is reflective cognition: Rather than more genuine interest you can bring to your reading, the just experiencing something, you also actively think about what more you will learn (Hartlep & Forsyth, 2000). you experienced. The next morning, you may forget most of what R4  Review. When you’re done reading, skim back over a sec- you watched the night before, but the odds are you will remember tion or the entire chapter, or read your notes. Then check the program on global warming. Thus, studying a textbook ideally your memory by reciting and quizzing yourself again. Try to involves not just experiencing it, but also actively reflecting on make frequent, active review a standard part of your study what you read. Figure I.1). habits ( • One way to be more reflective while reading a textbook is to use the SQ4R method. SQ4R stands for survey, question, Question Question Question Question read, recite, reflect, and review. These six Read Read Read Read Survey Review steps can help you learn as you read and Recite Recite Recite Recite reflect, remember more, and review effec- Reflect Reflect Reflect Reflect tively: Figure I.1 The SQ4R method promotes active learning and information processing. You should begin with a • S  Survey. Skim through a chapter survey of the chapter or section, depending on how much you plan to read. Then you should proceed through cycles before you begin reading it. Start by of questioning, reading, reciting, and reflecting, and conclude with a review of the section or the entire chapter. 9 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 2 9111_00_intro_001-010.indd 2 10/14/08 12:17:45 PM 10/14/08 12:17:45 PM © 1996 William Haefeli from All Rights Reserved. The Psychology of Studying 3 Does this really work? Yes. Using a reflective reading strategy Recite and Reflect improves learning and course grades (Taraban, Rynearson, & To help you study in smaller “bites,” this book is divided into short Kerr, 2000). Simply reading straight through a chapter can give sections that end with Knowledge Builders, which make good stop- you “intellectual indigestion.” That’s why it’s better to stop often ping points. Knowledge Builders provide opportunities to check to think, question, recite, reflect, review, and “digest” information your memory for what you just read. They also invite you to think as you read. more deeply by presenting critical thinking questions and ques- tions designed to help you relate material to your own life. (Don’t forget to also take notes or recite and reflect on your own.) How to Use Introduction to Psychology: Gateways This book also provides other opportunities for you to reflect to Mind and Behavior more deeply about what you are reading. Each chapter ends with You can apply the SQ4R method to any text. However, we have a Psychology in Action section. These discussions are filled with specifically designed this textbook to help you actively learn practical ideas you can relate to your own life. In many chapters, psychology. Discovering Psychology boxes also invite you to relate psychology to your own behavior. Critical Thinking boxes present intriguing Survey questions you can use to sharpen your critical thinking skills. In Each chapter opens with a chapter survey that includes a Gate- addition, Human Diversity boxes encourage you to reflect on the way Theme and a list of Gateway Questions as well as a Preview rich variety of human experience; Brainwaves boxes show how the of what will be covered. You can use these features to identify brain relates to psychology; and in The Clinical File boxes we will important ideas as you begin reading. The Preview should help see how psychology can be applied to treat clinical problems. you get interested in the topics you will be reading about. The Gateway Theme and Gateway Questions are a good guide to the Review kinds of information to look for as you read. In fact, answers to Each chapter concludes with a detailed review. There you will find the Gateway Questions are a good summary of the core concepts a list of Gateways to psychology. These are summaries of psychol- in each chapter. If, years from now, you still remember those ogy’s “big ideas” and enduring principles. The first time you finish Gateway concepts, your authors will be very happy indeed. a chapter, don’t feel obligated to memorize the Gateways concepts. Anyway, after you’ve studied the Gateway Questions, take a few However, be sure to take a moment to think about each statement. minutes to do your own survey of the chapter. You should notice Ultimately, the Gateways will provide a good high-level summary that each major chapter heading is accompanied by one of the of what you learned in this course. By making these ideas your Gateway Questions. This will help you build a “mental map” of own, you will gain something of lasting value: You will learn to upcoming topics. see human behavior as psychologists do. Following each Gateways concept, you will find a more detailed, point-by-point summary of Question ideas presented in the chapter. These points will help you identify How can I use the SQ4R method to make reading more interest- important ideas to remember. ing and effective? One of the key steps is to ask yourself a lot of For further review, you can use the running glossary in the mar- questions while you read. Dialogue Questions like the one that Table I.1 sum- gin, as well as boldface terms, figures, and tables. • began this paragraph will help you focus on seeking information marizes how this text helps you apply the SQ4R method. Even with as you read. These questions are very much like those running all this help, there is still much more you can do on your own. through the minds of students like you as they read this book. Try to anticipate these questions. Even better, be sure to ask your own questions. Try to actively interact with your textbooks as Effective Note-Taking — you read. Good Students, Take Note Read Reading strategies may be good for studying, but what about taking As an aid to reading, important terms are printed in boldface notes in class? Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s important. Just as type and defined where they first appear. (Some are followed studying a textbook is best done reflectively, so too is attending class by pronunciations — capital letters show which syllables are (Norman, 1993). Like effective reading, good notes come from accented.) You’ll also find a running glossary in the lower right- actively seeking information. People who are active listeners avoid hand corner of pages you are reading, so you never have to guess distractions and skillfully gather ideas. Here’s a listening/note-taking about the meaning of technical terms. If you want to look up a term from a lecture or another chapter, check the main Glossary. This “mini-dictionary” is located near the end of the SQ4R method An active study-reading technique based on these steps: book. Perhaps you should take a moment to find it now. In survey, question, read, recite, reflect, and review. addition, many figures and tables help you quickly grasp impor- Active listener A person who knows how to maintain attention, avoid tant concepts. distractions, and actively gather information from lectures. 9 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 3 9111_00_intro_001-010.indd 3 1 10/14/08 12:17:47 PM 0/14/08 12:17:47 PM4 INTRODUCTION Table I.1 Using the SQ4R Method lecture or from your text. Raise your hand at the beginning • of class or approach your professor before the lecture. Do Survey anything that helps you stay active, alert, and engaged. • Preview • Gateway Theme N  Note taking. Students who take accurate lecture notes tend • Gateway Questions to do well on tests (Williams & Eggert, 2002). However, • Chapter Preview don’t try to be a tape recorder. Listen to everything, but be • Topic Headings selective and write down only key points. If you are too busy • Figure Captions writing, you may not grasp what your professor is saying. Question When you’re taking notes, it might help to think of yourself • Topic Headings • I n-Text Dialogue Questions as a reporter who is trying to get a good story (Ryan, 2001). Read Actually, most students take reasonably good notes — and then • Topic Headings don’t use them Many students wait until just before exams to • Boldface Terms review. By then, their notes have lost much of their meaning. If • Running Glossary • Figures and Tables you don’t want your notes to seem like “chicken scratches,” it pays to review them every day (Rowe, 2007). Recite • Recit e Questions (in Knowledge Builders) • P ractice Quizzes (online) Using and Reviewing Your Notes • Notes (make them while reading) When you review, you will learn more if you take the extra Reflect steps listed here (Knaus & Ellis, 2002; Rowe, 2007; Santrock & • Critical Thinking Questions (in Knowledge Builders) Halonen, 2007): • Relate Questions (in Knowledge Builders) • P sychology in Action Sections (throughout the text) • As soon as you can, reflect on and improve your notes by fill- • Bo xed Highlights (throughout the text) ing in gaps, completing thoughts, and looking for connections Review among ideas. • I talicized Gateways Concepts • Remember to link new ideas to what you already know. • Boldface Terms • Running Glossary • Summarize your notes. Boil them down and organize them. • Figure and Tables • After each class session, write down at least seven major ideas, • Practice Quizzes (online) definitions, or details that are likely to become test questions. • Study Guide Then make up questions from your notes and be sure you can answer them. plan that works for many students. The letters LISAN, pronounced Summary like the word listen, will help you remember the steps: The letters LISAN are a guide to active listening, but listening and good note taking are not enough. You must also review, organize, L  Lead. Don’t follow. Read assigned materials before com- reflect, extend, and think about new ideas. Use active listening to ing to class. Try to anticipate what your teacher will say by get involved in your classes and you will undoubtedly learn more asking yourself questions. If your teacher provides course (Rowe, 2007). notes or PowerPoint overheads before lectures, review them before coming to class. Reflective questions can come from those materials or from study guides, reading assignments, Study Strategies — or your own curiosity. I  Ideas. Every lecture is based on a core of ideas. Usually, an Making a Habit of Success idea is followed by examples or explanations. Ask yourself Grades depend as much on effort as they do on “intelligence.” often, “What is the main idea now? What ideas support it?” However, don’t forget that good students work more efficiently, S  Signal words. Listen for words that tell you what direc- not just harder. Many study practices are notoriously poor, such tion the instructor is taking. For instance, here are some as recopying lecture notes, studying class notes but not the text- signal words: book (or the textbook but not class notes), outlining chapters, There are three reasons why . . . Here come ideas answering study questions with the book open, and “group study” Most important is . . . Main idea (which often becomes a party). The best students emphasize qual- On the contrary . . . Opposite idea ity: They study their books and notes in depth and attend classes As an example . . . Support for main idea regularly. It’s a mistake to blame poor grades on events “beyond Therefore . . . Conclusion your control.” Students who are motivated to succeed usually get A  Actively listen. Sit where you can get involved and ask better grades (Perry et al., 2001). Let’s consider a few more things questions. Bring questions you want answered from the last you can do to improve your study habits. 9 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 4 9111_00_intro_001-010.indd 4 1 10/14/08 12:17:48 PM 0/14/08 12:17:48 PM The Psychology of Studying 5 Study in a Specific Place Test Yourself Ideally, you should study in a quiet, well-lit area free of distrac- A great way to improve grades is to take practice tests before the real tions. If possible, you should also have at least one place where you one in class. In other words, studying should include self-testing, in only study. Do nothing else at that spot: Keep magazines, MP3 which you pose questions to yourself. You can use flash cards, Learn- players, friends, cell phones, pets, posters, video games, puzzles, ing Check questions, online quizzes, a study guide, or other means. food, lovers, sports cars, elephants, pianos, televisions, YouTube, As you study, ask many questions and be sure you can answer them. kazoos, and other distractions out of the area. In this way, the Studying without self-testing is like practicing for a basketball game habit of studying will become strongly linked with one specific without shooting any baskets. place. Then, rather than trying to force yourself to study, all you For more convenient self-testing, your professor may make a have to do is go to your study area. Once there, you’ll find it is Study Guide or a separate booklet of Practice Quizzes available. You relatively easy to get started. can use either to review for tests. Practice quizzes are also available on the book companion website, as described later. However, don’t Use Spaced Study Sessions use practice quizzes as a substitute for studying your textbook and lecture notes. Trying to learn from quizzes alone will probably It is reasonable to review intensely before an exam. However, lower your grades. It is best to use quizzes to find out what topics you’re taking a big risk if you are only “cramming” (learning new you need to study more (Brothen & Wambach, 2001). information at the last minute). Spaced practice is much more efficient (Anderson, 2005). Spaced practice consists of a large Overlearn number of relatively short study sessions. Long, uninterrupted Many students underprepare for exams, and most overestimate how study sessions are called massed practice. (If you “massed up” your studying, you probably messed it up too.) well they will do. A solution to both problems is overlearning, Cramming places a big burden on memory. Usually, you in which you continue studying beyond your initial mastery of a shouldn’t try to learn anything new about a subject during the last topic. In other words, plan to do extra study and review after you day before a test. It is far better to learn small amounts every day think you are prepared for a test. One way to overlearn is approach and review frequently (Anderson, 2005). all tests as if they will be essays. That way, you will learn more com- pletely, so you really “know your stuff.” Try Mnemonics Learning has to start somewhere, and memorizing is often the first step. Many of the best ways to improve memory are covered in Self-Regulated Learning — Chapter 8. Let’s consider just one technique here. Academic All-Stars A mnemonic (nee-MON-ik) is a memory aid. There are many ways to create mnemonics. Most mnemonics link new informa- Think of a topic you are highly interested in, such as music, sports, tion to ideas or images that are easy to remember. For example, fashion, cars, cooking, politics, or movies. Whatever the topic, what if you want to remember that the Spanish word for duck is you have probably learned a lot about it — painlessly. How could pato (pronounced POT-oh)? To use a mnemonic, you could pic- you make your college work more like voluntary learning? An ture a duck in a pot or a duck wearing a pot for a hat. Likewise, to approach called self-regulated learning might be a good start. Self- remember that the cerebellum controls coordination, you might regulated learning is deliberately reflective and active, self-guided picture someone named “Sarah Bellum” who is very coordinated. study (Hofer & Yu, 2003). Here’s how you can change passive For best results, make your mnemonic images exaggerated or studying into goal-oriented learning: bizarre, vivid, and interactive (Macklin & McDaniel, 2005). 1. Set specific, objective learning goals. Try to begin each learning session with specific goals in mind. What knowledge or skills are you trying to master? What do you hope to accomplish (Knaus & Ellis, 2002)? Spaced practice Practice spread over many relatively short study sessions. Massed practice Practice done in a long, uninterrupted study session. Mnemonic A memory aid or strategy. Self-testing Evaluating learning by posing questions to yourself. Overlearning Continuing to study and learn after you think you’ve mastered a topic. Mnemonics make new information more familiar and memorable. Forming an image of a duck wearing a pot for a hat might help you remember that pato is Self-regulated learning Deliberately reflective and active, self-guided the Spanish word for duck. study. 9 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 5 9111_00_intro_001-010.indd 5 10/14/08 12:17:50 PM 10/14/08 12:17:50 PM6 INTRODUCTION 2. Plan a learning strategy. How will you accomplish your goals? Why do so many students procrastinate? Many students equate Make daily, weekly, and monthly plans for learning. Then grades with their personal worth. That is, they act as if grades tell put them into action. whether they are good, smart people who will succeed in life. By 3. Be your own teacher. Effective learners silently give themselves procrastinating they can blame poor work on a late start, rather guidance and ask themselves questions. For example, as you than a lack of ability (Beck, Koons, & Milgrim, 2000). After all, it are learning, you might ask yourself, “What are the impor- wasn’t their best effort, was it? tant ideas here? What do I remember? What don’t I under- Perfectionism is a related problem. If you expect the impossi- stand? What do I need to review? What should I do next?” ble, it’s hard to start an assignment. Students with high standards 4. Monitor your progress. Self-regulated learning depends on often end up with all-or-nothing work habits (Onwuegbuzie, self-monitoring. Exceptional learners keep records of their 2000). progress toward learning goals (pages read, hours of study- ing, assignments completed, and so forth). They quiz them- Time Management selves, use study guides, make sure they follow the SQ4R Most procrastinators must eventually face the self-worth issue. system, and find other ways to check their understanding Nevertheless, most can improve by learning study skills and better while learning. time management. We have already discussed general study skills, 5. Reward yourself. When you meet your daily, weekly, or so let’s consider time management in a little more detail. monthly goals, reward your efforts in some way, such as A weekly time schedule is a written plan that allocates time for going to a movie or downloading some new music. Be study, work, and leisure activities. To prepare your schedule, make aware that self-praise also rewards learning. Being able to a chart showing all the hours in each day of the week. Then fill in say, “Hey, I did it” or “Good work” and knowing that you times that are already committed: sleep, meals, classes, work, team deserve it can be very rewarding. In the long run, success, practices, lessons, appointments, and so forth. Next, fill in times self-improvement, and personal satisfaction are the real when you will study for various classes. Finally, label the remaining payoffs for learning. hours as open or free times. 6. Evaluate your progress and goals. It is a good idea to frequently Each day, you can use your schedule as a checklist. That way evaluate your performance records and goals. Are there spe- you’ll know at a glance which tasks are done and which still need cific areas of your work that need improvement? If you are attention (Knaus & Ellis, 2002). not making good progress toward long-range goals, do you You may also find it valuable to make a term schedule that need to revise your short-term targets? lists the dates of all quizzes, tests, reports, papers, and other major 7. Take corrective action. If you fall short of your goals you may assignments for each class. need to adjust how you budget your time. You may also need The beauty of sticking to a schedule is that you know you are to change your learning environment to deal with distrac- making an honest effort. It will also help you avoid feeling bored tions such as watching TV, daydreaming, talking to friends, while you are working or guilty when you play. or testing the structural integrity of the walls with your stereo Be sure to treat your study times as serious commitments, but system. respect your free times, too. And remember, students who study If you discover that you lack necessary knowledge or skills, ask hard and practice time management do get better grades (Rau & for help, take advantage of tutoring programs, or look for informa- Durand, 2000). tion beyond your courses and textbooks. Knowing how to regulate and control learning can be a key to lifelong enrichment and per- Goal Setting sonal empowerment. As mentioned earlier, students who are active learners set specific goals for studying. Such goals should be clear-cut and measur- able (Knaus & Ellis, 2002). If you find it hard to stay motivated, Procrastination — Avoiding try setting goals for the semester, the week, the day, and even for single study sessions. Also, be aware that more effort early the Last-Minute Blues in a course can greatly reduce the “pain” and stress you will All of these study techniques are fine. But what can I do about experience later. If your professors don’t give frequent assign- procrastination? A tendency to procrastinate is almost universal. ments, set your own day-by-day goals. That way, you can turn big (When campus workshops on procrastination are offered, many assignments into a series of smaller tasks that you can actually students never get around to signing up) Even when procrastina- complete (Ariely & Wertenbroch, 2002). An example would tion doesn’t lead to failure, it can cause much suffering. Procras- be reading, studying, and reviewing 8 pages a day to complete tinators work only under pressure, skip classes, give false reasons a 40-page chapter in 5 days. For this textbook, reading from for late work, and feel ashamed of their last-minute efforts. They one Knowledge Builder to the next each day might be a good also tend to feel frustrated, bored, and guilty more often (Blunt & pace. Remember, many small steps can add up to an impressive Pychyl, 2005). achievement. 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 6 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 6 1 10/14/08 12:17:51 PM 0/14/08 12:17:51 PM The Psychology of Studying 7 4. Be sure to answer all questions. 5. Use your time wisely. Study Skills Checklist 6. Ask for clarification when necessary. Time Management Objective Tests Make formal schedule Set specific goals Several additional strategies can help you do better on objec- tive tests. Objective tests (multiple-choice and true–false items) Study Habits Study in specific area require you to recognize a correct answer among wrong ones or a Pace study and review true statement versus a false one. Here are some strategies for tak- Create memory aids Test yourself ing objective tests: Overlearn 1. First, relate the question to what you know about the topic. Reading Then, read the alternatives. Does one match the answer you Use SQ4R method expected to find? If none match, reexamine the choices and Study while reading Review frequently look for a partial match. 2. Read all the choices for each question before you make a Note Taking Listen actively decision. Here’s why: If you immediately think that a is cor- Use LISAN method rect and stop reading, you might miss seeing a better answer Review notes frequently like “both a and d.” 3. Read rapidly and skip items you are unsure about. You may find “free information” in later questions that will help you Figure I.2 Study skills checklist. answer difficult items. • 4. Eliminate certain alternatives. With a four-choice multiple- choice test, you have one chance in four of guessing right. Make Learning an Adventure If you can eliminate two alternatives, your guessing odds A final point to remember is that you are most likely to procras- improve to 50-50. tinate if you think a task will be unpleasant (Pychyl et al., 2000). 5. Unless there is a penalty for guessing, be sure to answer any Learning can be hard work. Nevertheless, many students find ways skipped items. Even if you are not sure of the answer, you to make schoolwork interesting and enjoyable. Try to approach may be right. If you leave a question blank, it is automatically your schoolwork as if it were a game, a sport, an adventure, or sim- wrong. When you are forced to guess, don’t choose the lon- ply a way to become a better person. The best educational experi- gest answer or the letter you’ve used the least. Both strategies ences are challenging yet fun (Ferrari & Scher, 2000). lower scores more than random guessing does. Virtually every topic is interesting to someone, somewhere. You 6. There is a bit of folk wisdom that says “Don’t change your may not be particularly interested in the sex life of South Ameri- answers on a multiple-choice test. Your first choice is usually can tree frogs. However, a biologist might be fascinated. (Another right.” This is false. If you change answers, you are more likely tree frog might be, too.) If you wait for teachers to “make” their to gain points than to lose them. This is especially true if you courses interesting, you are missing the point. Interest is a matter are uncertain of your first choice or it was a hunch, and if Figure I.2 for a summary of study skills.) of your attitude. (See • your second choice is more reflective (Higham & Gerrard, 2005). 7. Remember, you are searching for the one best answer to each question. Some answers may be partly true, yet flawed Taking Tests — Are You “Test Wise”? in some way. If you are uncertain, try rating each multiple- If I read and study effectively, is there anything else I can do to improve choice alternative on a 1–10 scale. The answer with the high- my grades? You must also be able to show what you know on tests. est rating is the one you are looking for. Here are some suggestions for improving your test-taking skills: 8. Few circumstances are always or never present. Answers that include superlatives such as most, least, best, worst, largest, or General Test-Taking Skills smallest are often false. You’ll do better on all types of tests if you observe the following guidelines (Wood & Willoughby, 1995): 1. Read all directions and questions carefully. They may give Weekly time schedule A written plan that allocates time for study, work, and leisure activities during a 1-week period. you good advice or clues. 2. Quickly survey the test before you begin. Term schedule A written plan that lists the dates of all major assignments for each of your classes for an entire semester or quarter. 3. Answer easy questions before spending time on more diffi- cult ones. Specific goal A goal with a clearly defined and measurable outcome. 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 7 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 7 10/14/08 12:17:52 PM 10/14/08 12:17:52 PM8 INTRODUCTION “pages.” If you know the URL (or “address”) of a website, you can Essay Tests view the information it contains. Almost all web pages also have Essay questions are a weak spot for students who lack organization, links to other websites. These links let you “jump” from one site don’t support their ideas, or don’t directly answer the question to the next to find more information. (Rowe, 2007). When you take an essay exam try the following: 1. Read the question carefully. Be sure to note key words, such Google It as compare, contrast, discuss, evaluate, analyze, and describe. To find psychological information on the Internet, you’ll need a These words all demand a certain emphasis in your answer. computer and an Internet connection. If you don’t own a com- 2. Answer the question. If the question asks for a definition and puter, you can usually use one on campus. Various software brows- an example, make sure you provide both. Providing just a ers make it easier to navigate around the web. A browser allows definition or just an example will get you half marks. Giving you to see text, images, sounds, and video clips stored on other three examples instead of the one asked for will not earn you computers. Browsers also keep lists of your favorite URLs so that any extra marks. you can return to them. 3. Think about your answer for a few minutes and list the main points you want to make. Just write them as they come to The Book Companion Website mind. Then rearrange the ideas in a logical order and begin How would I find information about psychology on the Internet? writing. Elaborate plans or outlines are not necessary. Your first stop on the Internet should be the book companion 4. Don’t beat around the bush or pad your answer. Be direct. website. Here’s what you’ll find there: Make a point and support it. Get your list of ideas into words. 5. Look over your essay for errors in spelling and grammar. Save Online Quizzes. You can use these chapter-by-chapter this for last. Your ideas are of first importance. You can work multiple-choice and true–false quizzes to practice for on spelling and grammar separately if they affect your grades. tests and check your understanding. Web Links. This area is a “launching pad” that will take you Short-Answer Tests to other psychology-related sites on the Internet. If a site Tests that ask you to fill in a blank, define a term, or list specific sounds interesting, a click of the mouse will take you to it. items can be difficult. Usually, the questions themselves contain Online Flash Cards. These online flash cards allow you to little information. If you don’t know the answer, you won’t get practice terms and concepts interactively. much help from the questions. Crossword Puzzles. Crosswords are a fun way to check your The best way to prepare for short-answer tests is to overlearn knowledge of key terms and their definitions. the details of the course. As you study, pay special attention to lists The book companion website is located at of related terms. . Be sure to visit this site for valuable information psychology/coon Again, it is best to start with the questions you’re sure you about how to improve your grades and enhance your appreciation know. Follow that by completing items you think you probably of psychology. know. Questions you have no idea about can be left blank. Again, for your convenience, Figure I.2 provides a checklist • summary of the main study skills we have covered. Using Digital Media — Netting New Knowledge Google any psychological term ranging from amnesia to zoophobia and you will find a vast library of information, from serious web- sites, like that maintained by the American Psychological Associa- tion, to Wikipedia entries and personal blogs. Even if you don’t own a computer, you can usually use one on campus to learn more about psychology. However, be aware that information on the Internet is not always accurate. It is wise to approach all websites with a healthy dose of skepticism. Digital Gateways The Internet is a network of interlinked computers. An impor- tant subpart of the Internet is the World Wide Web (WWW) The book companion website gives you online access to a variety of valuable or just plain “web,” an interlinked system of information “sites” or learning aids and interesting materials. 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 8 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 8 1 10/14/08 12:17:52 PM 0/14/08 12:17:52 PM The Psychology of Studying 9 Figure I.3 A sample screen from CengageNOW. • CengageNOW Students can also make use of CengageNOW for Coon/Mitterer’s Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior, twelfth edition, a Figure I.4 This is a sample abstract from the PsycINFO database. If you search for web-based, personalized study system that provides a pre-test and • the term study skills, you will find this article and many more in PsycINFO. (Reproduced a post-test for each chapter. CengageNOW, located at academic with permission of the American Psychological Association, publisher of the PsycINFO database., also creates personalized study plans — which PsycINFO Database Record © 2007 APA, all rights reserved. No further reproduction or distribution is include rich media such as videos, animations, and learning mod- permitted without written permission from the American Psychological Association.) ules and links to the eBook that help you study the specific topics in the text where you need to study most ( Figure I.3). • ics by entering words such as drug abuse, postpartum depression, or creativity. Wadsworth’s Psychology Resource Center You can gain access to PsycINFO in several ways. Almost every Do you like videos, simulations, and animations? Do you learn college and university subscribes to PsycINFO. If this is the case, best when you get actively involved in psychology? The Wad- you can usually search PsycINFO from a terminal in your college sworth Psychology Resource Center brings psychology to life library or computer center for free. PsycINFO can also be directly with a full library of original and classic video clips plus interactive accessed (for a fee) through the Internet via APA’s PsycINFO learning modules tied to all of the topics covered in your introduc- Direct service. For more information on how to gain access to tory psychology course. Log in at to visit PsycINFO, check this website: the resource center. The APA Website Psychology Websites The APA also maintains an online library of general interest You’ll find the titles of interesting websites you may want to articles on aging, anger, children and families, depression, divorce, explore at the end of each chapter in this book, including this one. emotional health, kids and the media, sexuality, stress, testing The best way to reach these sites is through the book companion issues, women and men, and other topics. They are well worth website. We have not included website addresses in the book consulting when you have questions about psychological issues. because they often change or may become inactive. At the website You’ll find them at For links to recent articles in you’ll find up-to-date links for websites listed in this book. The newspapers and magazines, be sure to check the APA’s PsycPORT sites we’ve listed are generally of high quality. However, be aware page at that information on the Internet is not always accurate. It is wise to approach all websites with a healthy dose of skepticism. Internet An electronic network of interlinked computers. PsycINFO World Wide Web (WWW) A system of information sites accessible Psychological knowledge can also be found through specialized through the Internet. online databases. One of the best is PsycINFO, offered by the Ameri- Links Connections built into websites that let you “jump” from one site can Psychological Association. PsycINFO provides summaries of to the next. the scientific and scholarly literature in psychology. Each record in Browser Software that facilitates access to text, images, sounds, video, PsycINFO consists of an abstract (short summary), plus notes about and other information stored in formats used on the Internet. the author, title, source, and other details ( Figure I.4). All entries • PsycINFO A searchable, online database that provides brief summaries are indexed using key terms. Thus, you can search for various top- of the scientific and scholarly literature in psychology. 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 9 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 9 10/14/08 12:17:53 PM 10/14/08 12:17:53 PM10 INTRODUCTION Please do take some of the “digital gateways” described here. Relate You might be surprised by the fascinating information that awaits Which study skills do you think would help you the most? Which tech- you. Investigating psychology on your own is one of the best ways niques do you already use? Which do you think you should try? To what to enrich an already valuable course. extent do you already engage in self-regulated learning? What additional steps could you take to become a more active, goal-oriented learner? A Final Word There is a distinction in Zen between “live words” and “dead words.” Live words come from personal experience; dead words are “about” a subject. This book can only be a collection of dead words unless you accept the challenge of taking an intellectual step through this gateway to psychology. You will find many helpful, Web Resources useful, and exciting ideas in the pages that follow. To make them yours, you must set out to actively learn as much as you can. The For an up-to-date list of direct links to interesting sites, including those ideas presented here should get you off to a good start. Good listed here, visit the student companion site for this book at luck For more information, consult any of the following books: How to Succeed as a Student Advice on how to be a college student. Topics from studying to housing to preparation for work are included. Hettich, P. I. (2005). Connect college to career: Student guide to work and life transition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Library Research in Psychology Hints on how to do library research Knaus, W. J., & Ellis, A. (2002). The procrastination workbook: in psychology. Your personalized program for breaking free from the patterns Psychology Glossary You can use this glossary to get additional defi- that hold you back. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Press. nitions for common psychological terms. Rosnow, R. L. (2006). Writing papers in psychology: A student Study Skills More information on SQ4R, taking tests, note taking, and guide to research papers, essays, proposals, posters, and hand- time management. outs (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Rowe, B. (2007). College awareness guide: What students need to know to succeed in college. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Interactive Learning Prentice Hall. Santrock, J. W., & Halonen, J. S. (2007). Connections to college Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior Book success. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Companion Website KNOWLEDGE BUILDER Visit your book companion website, where you will find flash cards, Study Skills practice quizzes, web links, and more to help you study. RECITE 1. The four Rs in SQ4R stand for “read, recite, reflect, and review.” T or F? Just what you need to know NOW 2. When using the LISAN method, students try to write down as much of a lecture as possible so that their notes are complete. T or F? Spend time on what you need to master rather than on informa- 3. Spaced study sessions are usually superior to massed practice. tion you already have learned. Take a pre-test for this chapter, and T or F? 4. According to research, you should almost always stick with your first CengageNOW will generate a personalized study plan based on answer on multiple-choice tests. T or F? your results. The study plan will identify the topics you need to 5. To use the technique known as overlearning, you should continue to review and direct you to online resources to help you master those study after you feel you have begun to master a topic. T or F? topics. You can then take a post-test to help you determine the 6. Setting learning goals and monitoring your progress are important parts of ______________________________ learning. concepts you have mastered and what you will need to work on. 7. Procrastination is related to seeking perfection and equating self- Try it out Go to to sign in with an access worth with grades. T or F? code or to purchase access to this product. REFLECT Critical Thinking 8. How are the SQ4R method and the LISAN method related? 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 10 99111_00_intro_001-010.indd 10 1 10/14/08 12:17:55 PM 0/14/08 12:17:55 PM Answers: 1. T 2. F 3. T 4. F 5. T 6. self-regulated 7. T 8. Both encourage people to actively seek information as a way of learning more effectively.

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