Outsmart Your Brain Reflection

Outsmart Your Brain, written by Daniel T. Willingham, provides tips and indicates errors that people, especially students, make while reading textbooks. In chapter 5, he quotes an example that intimates an excerpt from a typical high school textbook and points out the error that many students make — not coordinating and comprehending the context of the textbook. After I read the excerpt, I realized I had made the same mistake. I did not realize that the two sentences are contradicting, instead, I thought the textbook must be accurate and that I only remember the main idea of the paragraph. I did not think critically and judge every part of the text. This reminds me to stay “sober” and think crucially and carefully when I am reading the textbook in order to have a more in-depth idea of the subject.

I also realized I made the typical mistake during reading textbooks or materials. I normally read and highlight information that I think is “important”. However, Willingham reminds me that reading without knowing a general idea and preparing will make me skip the central idea — the actual important part of the text. Thus, he suggests a method that I will start using — SQ3R, survey, question, read, recite, and review. He mentions that this method improves comprehension. Hopefully, this method helps me to acknowledge the essential parts of the text better. He also suggests a note structure that I have never applied and heard of, which should include a summary, an important qualification of the summary, a comment on how this section relates to the main section, how the section answers the questions that I raised beforehand, and an implication of the summary. I learned how to read and take notes, I hope my note-taking skills will improve this year.

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