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Reading textbook a ton? vs. hardly at all?

  1. Aug 26, 2011 #1
    In a course at a college level, if you read the text book from front to back instead of just using it for reference it seems to not help the grade? What do you think?

    P.S.

    EDIT:
    and just put this in a reply to the first person to answer: That, the book must be EVIL:

    The teacher told us, you just listen to the lecture and that's you should know for the test. Just listen to the lecture, and that's all he says. Never opened the book once for the math class and got an A, but in a different math class, read the book from front to back, spent so much time reading that there was none left to even study for the tests, and was not into the lecture at all because of reading the book so very much, and that semester was not that great grade wise.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2011 #2
    In my opinion, reading the textbook can only help. My advice is to always come to class with the relevant parts in the textbook read already, if not more. That way you can keep up with the pace of the lecture instead of being shocked by new stuff. Also the lecturer might clear up some misconceptions from what youve read/explain it better.

    As you go on in your academic career you should learn to become less reliant on your professor to teach you the bulk of the material. It will be your job to learn the material by reading textbooks and papers.

    It may not be good to read it cover to cover though. Read the relevant parts and read anything extra if you have time for extra knowledge. If it doesn't help your grade it has something to do with how you're taking the tests or doing the homework.
     
  4. Aug 27, 2011 #3
    Well what do you think about this? The teacher told us, you just listen to the lecture and that's you should know for the test. Just listen to the lecture, and that's all he says. Never opened the book once for the math class and got an A, but in a different math class, read the book from front to back, spent so much time reading that there was none left to even study for the tests, and was not into the lecture at all because of reading the book so very much, and that semester was not that great grade wise. See?????? The book is evil LOL
     
  5. Aug 27, 2011 #4
    Depends on the course and the professor's style of teaching (the latter mainly). You'll find that in some classes, you only have to concentrate on lecture material whereas in other classes, you'll be doing most of the learning on your own by reading the text.

    In general though, the text should act as a "supplementary" guide. After all, if you're learning everything from the book, the class itself is essentially rendered useless. This unfortunately does happen sometimes, depending on the pedagogy of the professor.
     
  6. Aug 27, 2011 #5

    wukunlin

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    depends on the lecturer, material, and students themselves.

    persoanlly in physics I have to listen to lecturers waving theirs hands around the room in order to thoroughly understand the most difficult concepts
    stuff like computer science I can pretty much learn the programming concepts solely by myself
    while mathematics fits somewhere in between.

    as for the textbooks, I've always wanted to understand every single sentence in all these textbooks I've bought but i never got around to do that and I always wish I had
     
  7. Aug 27, 2011 #6

    Astronuc

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    If one did not do well grade wise, then that would indicate that one did not understand the material well. Either one didn't understand the text, or one missed relevant material in class.

    Class lectures and textbooks are complementary. One can find more information in a text book than can be gathered in class lecture, and one can glance ahead in a text book. My professors often delved into details on certain aspects of math or physics not necessarily clear in the textbook, and other times, we'd get a slightly different presentation of the material. Homework problems generally came from the textbook, although some problems were provided by the professors.

    And as LBloom indicated, "As you go on in your academic career you should learn to become less reliant on your professor to teach you the bulk of the material. It will be your job to learn the material by reading textbooks and papers."

    The best students go beyond that covered in class lecture and textbook.

    It is good practice to attend all lectures. It helps prepare one to show up for work every day.

    And finally, books are not evil. Books are inanimate, and represent a lot of effort on the part of the author(s), reviewers and publishers.
     
  8. Aug 27, 2011 #7

    mathwonk

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    if all you care about is the grade, cheating is probably even more efficient. studying more only helps you learn more, and who cares about that?
     
  9. Aug 28, 2011 #8
    YES BOOKS ARE EVIL and you may not realize it but you accidentally agreed with me when you REPEATED exactly what I said but changed it into your own words.

    As said, The book can very quickly become evil, all you have to do is read the whole book front to back including the parts of it that are not on the test, and not spend time re-enforcing concepts that the teacher wants you to know. You repeated what I initially told you, that not doing well grade wise is due to not devoting time to studying and therefore never having had an opportunity to study the material due to reading every single concept in the book, especially concepts in the book that are not considered important for the course. And if you devote so much time to reading the text book you would have no time to come to class, and you'll even be reading the book in class instead of hearing the lecture. So yes poor grades can result from the book reading taking far too much time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  10. Aug 28, 2011 #9
    At some schools you start at first not caring about grades at all and only interested in the subject you are studying but to be honest the staff at the school punishes students with that mentality at some schools. And also what would you do if the school threatened to take action because of your grades due to illness so you knew you had to improve your grades, would you not feel pressure? Would it still be a cardinal sin to think about getting good grades? would it still be impossible for you to want to get good grades and to enjoy the course material at the same time?
     
  11. Aug 28, 2011 #10
    Cheating is not a good solution at all, even if you do want to get good grades, because you can obsessed with good grades AND be obsessed and in love with the topic you are learning at the same time.
     
  12. Aug 28, 2011 #11
    And to both of you, the American educational system is flawed and does not allow much room for people to be interested in school subjects, due to the way it is so cut and paste and systematic. It pushes individuals through the school system like cattle. The US is behind in math and science compared to other nations. The grading and pressure in the US is terrible compared to the way other school systems work. True learning and curiosity is sort of even discouraged, and the school systems don't necessarily allow for people to true enjoy and fully explore a topic they love in school, not really unless your already a scientist with an advanced degree doing research.
     
  13. Aug 28, 2011 #12
    Reading a book isnt going to help you at all, especially in math/physics problems. Its easy to read about some principle or equation and think you understand it but if you dont do practice problems and actually test your knowledge on the topic then you'll get nowhere. Textbooks are not evil if you use them the way they are designed to be used. Reading it front to back is NOT the way a textbook is meanted to be used.
     
  14. Aug 28, 2011 #13
    I've taught myself entire courses just from the book.

    IMO--teachers that can't teach and don't care about the students' well-being are evil.
     
  15. Aug 28, 2011 #14
    I think the right book can make or break it for a student, don't automatically assume the right book is the assigned textbook.

    Fallacy of the excluded middle; grad schools, professors, jobs, and the like all seem to care very much about grades. I want to learn the material but it is possible to learn the material and still get not so good of a grade for various reasons that don't need to involve misunderstanding. In that case your grade wouldn't reflect your understanding of the material and yet you will be judged but what's on the transcript, so I believe it is prudent for students to care just as much about their grades as learning the material.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  16. Aug 28, 2011 #15
    Quote:

    "read the book from front to back, spent so much time reading that there was none left to even study for the tests, and was not into the lecture at all because of reading the book so very much, and that semester was not that great grade wise."

    You've completely and astonishingly misinterpreted what i've said. So let me repeat it for you.

    1) ALWAYS GO TO CLASS. You said yourself that in the classes you did bad in you were "not into the lecture at all bc of reading the book so very much". You need to do both and as I said before you should always go to class because the lecturer will clear up the important parts
    2) I did not say to read the book cover to cover. I said to read the relevant parts. If you're reading anything else, do it for your own enrichment but don't expect it to necessarily help (although it could).

    If you are reading the book so much that you are missing out on the lecture (and you're not doing exercises in the book either for practice) then you are mismanaging you're time (or possibly spending too much time on the material bc you dont understand it and at that point you should go to you're lecturers/TAs office hours). you should never read the book so much that you miss classes and you should read the relevant parts if you care about you're grade.

    To reiterate, read the relevant parts of the book before the lecture. Attend the lecture and listen carefully. If you want to read extra or read cover to cover, that's your choice but it may not be the best idea if you're sole concern is grades. You shouldn't be weighing your choices between the two, you should use both.

    I know people who never open the book and get As and people who never go to class and get As. You need to find a good mix between the two. What I said before about your future academic career is still correct, that by the time you get to grad school you are expected to learn things on your own. For undergrad this is less true. To harbor the idea that books are evil is shortsighted and misguided, they're simply tools to further your knowledge.
     
  17. Aug 28, 2011 #16
    Yep, I see. So just don't read any books and get good grades, problem solved. If you have already figured this out, then why create a thread about it...?
     
  18. Aug 28, 2011 #17
    what works for him may not work for you
     
  19. Aug 28, 2011 #18

    Vanadium 50

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    Then again, why create a thread about it? You can use that argument to filter out any and all advice.
     
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