|Using Your Notes To Study For Tests And Write
Now it is time for you to draw on the books, films and documents you covered in
class and produce your own secondary source -- your own theory of how the world works. You
will consolidate your notes to study for a test or write a paper. Once you have sliced up
the material and thought through both the big picture and its pieces, studying for a test
or writing a paper from your notes will be much easier.
Studying for Tests
For tests, you first need to identify the major themes of the class. Turn to the
synopses you created for primary and secondary sources. What were the major themes in
these works? Did they support or contradict one another? How do these themes compare with
those in your lecture notes? Can you think of a succinct way to understand these themes
given the differences in the class materials and lecture notes? For each major area, try
to write your own one or two sentence "argument."
Once you identify the major topics that you covered, turn to your angles of analysis.
What examples do these notes give you for the major themes you identified in the synopses?
Do these examples support or challenge the major themes you covered in lecture? In the
other material you covered for the class? For the central issues, make a quick chart that
sets out the similarities and differences.
When writing your essay examination, remember that you're writing for an audience. Read
the story of one essay grader.
If you are writing a paper and have a paper topic or argument in mind, turn to the
synopses of the secondary sources. How do these arguments intersect with your paper topic?
With the synopses of the primary source?
Now turn to the angles of analysis. These notes will identify major trends in the works
that may affect your argument. The notes also will point you to the material in your
readings that you can use to buttress your paper's argument. How do each of these
categories affect your paper topic? Which categories lend support to your argument? Can
you use examples from the primary sources? Also ask, What are the major areas that these
angles of analysis cover? This will identify for you where to go in the library when you
need to find background information for your paper.
Again, remember that you're writing your paper for an audience. Read tips on paper
To get started on the research process, follow the fish!
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