This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter zero table of contents.

Benefits of the Study Questions

As noted on the previous page, this book tempts certain students into a fruitless memorization strategy. Ironically, the problem is due to a truly useful study aid: the study questions in the margin.

These study questions are intended to provide three benefits. First, they take the guessing game out of studying. The study questions tell students what the author considers the main points or most important information in the chapter. (Teachers are free to add or delete questions or make amendments, of course.)

How can a student recognize the important point in a long story or example?

A second and more subtle function of the study questions is to allow digressions and expanded examples, without implying that students have to learn every detail at the same depth. If an anecdote or story is accompanied by one simple question, that means the story is presented in the same spirit as a lecturer going off on a tangent to tell a story. Most of the details are supplemental, while the main point of the paragraph is targeted by the study question.

What are the supposed benefits of the study questions?

Third, the study questions facilitate what psychologists call metacognition or monitoring the thought process, because the study questions encourage self-testing. Ideally, you should first read well, in depth, and try to enjoy what you are reading. Then use the study questions later to check up on your comprehension of basic points or locate "blank spots" where your attention might have wandered as you read (something that happens to everybody on occasion).

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