Hey guys! We are back with another blog post, this time with a tip as promised yesterday for when you don't understand a question in your physics, math, and chemistry books.
We talked yesterday about the detriments of peeking into the Internet for answers. You might be saying, where else could the answers be? They aren't in the back of the book.
Yes, they are not. They're in the FRONT of your book. No, not the cover page. The section you have just read! All of the information to solve any question, and I mean ANY question (within the scope of the topic). Instead of submitting yourself to the distractions that cell phones have, you can skim through the book, through the section you just read. While you may not find the actual answer to the question, you'll usually discover the process of how to solve the question, and you'll understand the chapter much better. The benefits of answering questions through this process is essential. For one, every time you reread the chapter, you gain more and more understanding. Each time you reread, you might pick up some nuances in the text that you may have previously missed. With his understanding, your ability to answer further questions in the chapter develops as well. Through this process, you'll gradually require less and less help, compared to repetitive answer hunts if you checked your phone every time for the answer.
Let's try out this tip using an example from AP Economics Unit 2- Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Consumer Index. The questions asks, which would contribute more to GDP, a diamond purchased by wealthy landowner or a water bottle purchased by a thirsty individual. Let's say that you have no clue what the answer is. On one has, the diamond has a greater monetary value, but on the other hand, the water has a greater emotional value. So where do you go to find the answer?
Skim through the book to find where it talks about how to measure the value of an object to GDP. On page 496 of the Second Edition of the Principles of Economics by N. Gregory Mankiw, Mankiw writes,
You have probably heard of the adage, "You can't compare apples and oranges." Yet GDP does exactly that. GDP adds together many different types of products into a single measure of the value of economic activity. To do this, it uses market prices. Because market prices measure the amount people are willing to pay for different goods, they reflect the value of those goods. If the price of an apple is twice the price of an orange, then an apple contributes twice as much to GDP as does an orange.
Whew! That was a lot. Did you use tip number 1 for that passage? If you did, you'll see that the passage states that "if the price of an apple is twice the price of an orange, then an apple contributes twice as much to GDP as does an orange". From here, you can see that because a diamond has more monetary worth than a water bottle, then the diamond contributes more to GDP than does a water bottle. Yay! Question solved. If you are still unsure why, continue skimming the book, until you fully understand the reasoning behind the question.
So what has this process done? Well, the next time I face a question like this, I'll know exactly what the book said. And that means for future problems similar to the diamond question, I would rarely need help to solve. Also, is the Internet always correct? You may have heard your teachers tell you to never use Wikipedia for your projects. That's because ANYONE can change the information on the World Wide Web. ANYONE. Even you. However, a book can't be edited by anyone in the world. And because those writers are looking for profits, they wouldn't produce a book with incorrect information. So, through utilizing a book to find your answers, you can be secure in thinking that your answer is correct.
So the next time you get stumped, don't go to the Internet. Don't go for help from a teacher (unless you've actually tried the tip). Go straight to the book. Find where the author address your issue. Then, use the concepts that the book explains and attempt to solve your answer. Not only will your understanding of the chapter increase, but so will your memory. Because every time you return to the book, the passages sketch another imprint into your memory, and you'll be perfectly ready for your next big test.
Lewis Zou/Raj Mukkamala