SOME STUDY SUGGESTIONS
A common complaint of sociology students is, "1 rend the book and I know the material, but I can't seem to figure out the tests Naturally enough, students who have studied are puzzled and frustrated when their test scores do not reflect what they feel they have learned. Why does this happen? The textbook, material in an introductory sociology course is not entirely unfamiliar and reads quite easily. The student can read through a chapter without finding anything that seems hard to understand. At the end, having found nothing very difficult, the student lays the book aside, feeling this assignment is finished Because the material is often familiar and not difficult to read, a student may have the illusion of having fulIy understood the assignment but have only a vague idea of the meaning of the concepts presented. Each paragraph has one or more main ideas, together with illustrative material intended to explain and clarify them. For example, turn back to the section on "Social Science and Common Sense" at the beginning of this chapter. This section contains only one major idea: Common sense includes both folk wisdom and folk nonsense, and scientists try to tell us which is which. All the rest is illustration and explanation.
The student should underline and remember the main ideas and concepts, not the illustrative material. After reading a paragraph, it is a'.useful habit to raise one's eyes and ask, "What must I remember from that paragraph? If nothing very clear can be recited, the paragraph needs to be studied again. After reading a section, look at the heading again and try another recitation for the complete section. Again, if one cannot give in one's own words a decent. summary of the section, it has not really been "studied" enough.