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3.11.3 Maths, sciences and technology

The additional points we would want you to be aware of as you plan your revision in these subjects relate to the different ways in which you are called upon to present your answers. These might be:

  • short reports

  • multiple-choice answers

  • dif
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3.8 Stage 6: Rehearsing answering exam questions

Just like assignment questions, exam questions should be read carefully, because you need to demonstrate in your answer that you have understood the question. Examiners frequently complain that students lose vital marks through failing to read and interpret the questions properly.


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3.6.1 Making summary sheets or cards

Andrew Northedge, in The Good Study Guide uses a diagram to illustrate this (reproduced as Figure 4). He notes that:

To boil the course down in this way, so as to extract its concentrated essences, is extremely valuable because it converts the broad themes and the detailed discussions of the course
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • manage time more effectively when revising and in the exam itself

  • learn, or brush up on, revision and exam skills

  • feel equipped to approach exams with less anxiety and stress.


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5.1.2 In what context was the text published?

This amounts to asking, when was it written and for what audience. Academic texts are written to make a contribution to the debates going on within the field. To understand where an author is coming from and why arguments are being presented in a particular way, you need to be able to place the text in context. Layard's article was published in 2003 in the UK, and was drawn from a prestigious series of public lectures. So the context is a major statement by a prominent academic
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5.1.1 How much trust can I put in this text?

You would generally assume that any set texts for a are trustworthy. But when you find a text through your own research you need to run a few checks to assess the soundness of its content.

Who is the publisher?

If an article is from an academic journal, you can assume that its quality has been vetted by the journal's editors. Also if a book is published by a major academic publishing house, you would expect it to be ‘respectable’. And if it's a book from an academic ser
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5.1 Critical questions

As well as making sense of what you read, you have to think about whether or not you are convinced by the arguments being presented. At degree level, you don't simply accept what you read – you read ‘critically’, weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of the case the author makes. This means asking another set of questions, such as the ones discussed here.


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3.1 Skimming

Did you read the Layard article quickly enough, or perhaps too quickly? Reading speed is a persistent worry when you study. There always seems to be much more to read than you have time for, so you feel a tremendous pressure to read faster. But then, if you go too fast, you don't learn much. So what is the ‘right’ speed? The answer is – it depends on what you are trying to achieve.

It's surprising how much you can pick up if you push on quickly through a few pages.

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5.2 The application

The first application I shall describe is that of an online bookseller. Such a book sales system would carry out a number of functions:

  • It would allow the user to browse through a catalogue of books.

  • It would allow the user to browse through a list of the most popular books, with the list being updated every hour.

  • It would provide the facility whereby a user can buy books and add them to a notional shopping basket.


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6.3 Planning stages

Having discussed the reasons to plan writing and the impact planning may have, now we need to look at planning itself and its two stages.


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4.2 Reports

Let's look at reports first.

Activity 3

Note down in your Learning Journal what you consider to be the purpose of a report.

Discussion


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8.6 Research skills

This kind of work teaches some very valuable skills:

  • how to set about an enquiry

  • how and where to find source material and information

  • how to make your own investigations

  • strategic planning

  • time management

  • cutting corners and being pragmatic

  • analysing and interpreting primary and secondary source material

  • forming your own conclusions<
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6.2.4 Evidence ‘from authority’

When you present evidence for your judgements in an essay, you don't only draw that evidence from the text. You also often call on the ‘authority’ of other writers on the subject (critics, academics), drawing on their judgements. You can ‘make sense’ of other people's ideas in books, articles, TV programmes, and so on; and how to weigh up these ideas and use them to help you form your own. As regards your writing, you have to learn how to use this kind of ‘evidence from autho
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6.1 Making a convincing case

If you were talking to a friend about a picture hanging on your living-room wall, you might say: ‘I really like that portrait because the man looks so lifelike’. That is, you'd make some kind of judgement about the painting. (I've never heard anyone say ‘I really like that portrait because of that little white brush stroke in the top right-hand corner’.) So, in effect, you turn the process we have just been through on its head. When you are communicating your ideas to other peo
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1.3.1 Cultural traditions

Just now I said quite confidently that you already know a lot about the subjects that make up the arts and humanities even if you have not studied them before. But how can I be so sure? What makes me certain is that, like everyone else, you were born into a human culture. As you were growing up within that culture you were hearing and seeing all the things the people around you were busy saying, doing and making. And you were learning to think and understand, do, say and make similar kinds of
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3 Roles

Quite often in work situations we are asked to work with a group of people we have not met before and with whom we may seem to have very little in common. The group, which may be labelled a ‘team’, could be tasked to organise or produce something about which some of the members may know more than others. After a period of initial awkwardness perhaps, the group members start to find out more about each other and attend to their task. It is quite likely that each of the members will then te
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2 Relationships

In reality, a message like the one just referred to above is just one of many which forms part of the ongoing relationships we have with the people we work with. How we get on with each other can have a huge impact on the interpretation of a given message, and the subsequent effects that might have on their motivation or morale.

The next idea we will introduce is a framework for assessing how relationships are established and evolve, based on the states of mind of those involved
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6.1.3 How do I draw a pie chart?

You must have data for which you need to show the proportion of each category as a part of the whole. Then the process is as below.

  1. Collect the data so the number per category can be counted.

    In other words, decide on the data that you wish to represent and collect it all together in a format that shows shares of the whole.

  2. Decide on a clear title.

    The title should be a brief description of the data that you wish to show
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6.1 What is a pie chart?

A pie chart is a circular chart (pie-shaped); it is split into segments to show percentages or the relative contributions of categories of data.


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5.3 Histograms

5.3.1 What is a histogram?

The simplest definition of a histogram is that it is a bar chart with the adjacent bars touching each other. Unlike a bar chart, histograms are usually drawn only with vertical bars. Generally, histograms are used to illustrate continuous data whereas bar charts are used to illustrate discrete data (distinct categories).

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