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A The following words and word combinations appear in the text. Explain their meaning using a dictionary
Study the Essential Vocabulary of the text; use it while doing the assignments that follow.
Read the newspaper article and do the assignment. For questions 1-4, you must choose which of the paragraphs A-E match the numbered gaps in the article. There is one extra paragraph, which does not fit into any of the gaps.
HOW TO BE A GOOD LEARNER
(A gapped text)
THE FIRST few weeks of a university course can seem dangerously elusive and intangible. The initial euphoria of finding that you’ve got only 12 lectures a week and Fridays are free soon dissipates in the 10-page reading list. Lecturers will toss around conflicting ideas and a bewildering array of interpretations, where school teachers would lead you comfortingly through the syllabus. And suddenly it’s up to you to decide when, where, how much and even how to study.
“The important thing is to find out what’s right for you. You should ask yourself am I a morning person or an evening person and for how long can I concentrate? Do I work best in my own room or in the library and what conditions do I need? You may work best with a bit of music or you may need perfect quiet. Working a nine-to-five day – filling in the chunks of time between lectures – suits some people, but others prefer working early in the morning.”
In lectures it helps to develop an abbreviated style of note taking. Ms Crookes says: “You need to ask yourself why you are taking notes. They should be a complement to listening to the lecture, recording the most important points, not a substitute for listening.” It may also reinforce your understanding and memory of the lecture, if you go through the notes after each lecture, underlining key points and making summaries.
Tutorials and seminars provide the opportunity to get to grips with fundamental ideas, question and try out ideas that you could use in essays. But often it is wasted as people sit in embarrassed silence, thinking that their suggestion or idea is too silly to mention. Overcoming such shyness can be liberating not only for you, as you will usually find your idea is taken seriously, but also for other students who may be encouraged to express their views.
She says the best policy is to try to strike a balance between the two levels. “Most of the literature points towards deeper level learning being both more satisfying for the student and more successful at internalizing the material but bear in mind that there are still games to be played. You’ve got to be very clear about what’s required in exams and coursework and should get hold of as many past exam papers as you can and talk to your lecturers to get pointers as to what’s coming up in exams,” she says.
Student poverty and overstretched libraries mean that obtaining books is likely to be one of your most persistent problems. Some libraries are limiting reservations for key texts to 24 hours per student, which makes it even more important to read effectively. It’s a good idea to approach second-year students for second- hand textbooks. Some groups of friends pool book budgets and share books.
Here are the paragraphs A-E to fill in the gapped text
Ms Loder has done a study in which she grouped students as surface-level and deeper-level learners according to the approach they took to studying and then compared their success rate in exams and coursework. “Most common was for the mid-line, deeper-level student to do well both in coursework and exams and surface-learners not to do well. Surface-level learners could do well if they were good at cue spotting and bending the lecturer’s ears but in general they tended to get through but not to excel, mainly because they didn’t take in broader ideas so well. However, some of the deeper-level students had big psychological problems with exams, because they didn’t agree with the whole concept of exams,” she says.
It also helped if people were encouraged to volunteer for things they had a flair for and if they overcame their fear of giving the presentation of what the group had done. “Presentations are a very good way of reinforcing what you have learnt,” she says.
Many universities issue students with booklets on study skills and use of the library and you should ask your course co-ordinator, personal tutor or student counselor for their advice. Effective reading is the key to success to both essay writing and exam performance and it starts with identifying clearly the question you are trying to answer. You need to find the most relevant books; use the index to find the relevant section and read selectively with the question in mind, picking out key passages, taking down notes and quotation. In essay writing, this needs to be married with a logical structuring of the answer, perhaps by labelling notes that go with each part of the argument.
As the workload builds up, some students are gripped by a growing sense of panic. But Shirley Crookes, a counsellor at Warwick University, says that paying careful attention to how you manage your time and realizing that studying involves simple skills that can be learnt the situation can be defused. ”You need to recognize there are 168 hours in a week and that you can work hard, play hard and relax in that time. It’s a question of how to balance your use of time to get the full potential out of it,” she says.
Cari Loder, a lecturer in the Centre for Higher Education Studies at London University, says, ”Researchers at Lancaster University have done a lot of work on how students learn and they are pushing the difference between surface-level learning and deeper-level learning.”Surface-level learning is absorbing and retaining detail and being able to reproduce it later, deeper-level learning involves engaging with fundamental principles and adjusting your own beliefs accordingly.
(From The Cambridge CAE Course,
by Mary Spratt and Lynda B. Taylor)
v Thematic Vocabulary
1) to seem dangerously elusive and intangible
2) to toss around conflicting ideas and a bewildering array of interpretations
3) the syllabus
4) the workload builds up
5) to develop an abbreviated style of note taking
6) a complement to listening to the lecture
7) to reinforce one’s understanding and memory of the lecture
8) to get to grips with fundamental ideas
9) to strike a balance between
10) to be successful at internalizing the material
11) to identify clearly the question
12) surface-level and deeper-level learners
13) to be good at cue spotting and bending the lecturer’s ears
14) to volunteer for things you have a flair for
15) to be married with
16) to be gripped by a growing sense of panic
17) to balance your use of time
18) to get the full potential out of your time
19) to be engaged with fundamental principles
20) persistent problems
v Vocabulary Practice
to bend the lecturer’s ears to have a flair for
to internalize the material to get to grips with smth
to be married with to volunteer for smth
elusive overstretched libraries
intangible to get pointers
B Write out the information about a) deeper-level students;
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