Terminology In Textbooks

Most courses present specialized terminology that you must master. Why master these terms?

  1. You can't understand the material without mastering that vocabulary.

  2. If you don't understand the material, there is no way you can remember it.

  3. Without mastering the vocabulary and understanding the material, it will be almost impossible to pass examinations in the subject.

How do you master the specialized terminology? The best way is to tackle it directly. Notice each new term as it comes along. If the book has a glossary of special terms, use it! Make note of the meaning of each new term in the margin of the text.

The Vocabulary Card System

One of the most efficient and practical methods for learning new terms is the vocabulary card system. Use a 3" by 5" index card for each new term. Write the term on the front and the meaning on the back. On the back of the card, you might also want to include an example to help you remember the term more easily. A sample vocabulary card, front and back, is shown below.

Vocabulary Flash Card

Monitoring Comprehension

For many daily activities you "check" on how well you are performing them. In sports such as tennis or bowling, you know if you are playing a poor game. You keep score and try to correct errors and improve your performance. As you monitor your reading, you will at times realize that your comprehension is poor or incomplete. When this happens, take immediate action to improve it. Do this by asking, "Why is this not making sense?" Determine if it's your lack of concentration, difficult words, complex ideas, or organization that is bothering you. Next, make changes in your reading/studying to correct or compensate for it. The next article in this section lists common problems and offers strategies to correct them.