1. Are paragraphs really necessary?
Read through the following un-paragraphed text entitled 'Coping with examination stress' in Macqueen, C (1998) Getting Ahead in Tertiary Study: A Practical Guide for Business, Social Science and Arts Students Sydney: UNSW Press p.4 Examination stress is most effectively managed through good preparation. If you allocate your preparation time so that you also maintain a healthy lifestyle, then your stress levels should be minimal. Remember also to manage your personal expectations and those of others, such as parents, immediate family and significant others. Positive thinking will be a major bonus. If you believe that you will succeed, you generally will. If you go into an examination thinking it will be difficult and you won't be able to cope, again that will probably be the case. If in the course of the examination you feel yourself losing control and becoming excessively panicked, then stop, take some deep breaths, focus your eyes away from the paper and into the middle distance whilst your deep breathing gets you back into control, and begin again. If a particular question is making you panic, leave it - move on to the next one and come back if you have time left over at the end. This basic failure to prioritise your energy can become your undoing since the sense of panic can spiral out of control and lead to inertia or frantic activity, resulting in few positive outcomes. The world will not stand or fall on the results of one examination; if you have worked hard in all of the components of the course assessment, including presentations and other coursework elements, then the results of the examination will only be a portion of the overall result. Is the passage easy to read without paragraphs? Why/why not? Try now to break the section into paragraphs. What might help you to determine where the paragraphs should go? How did you decide as you were reading through the above text where one paragraph should end and a new one should begin? In other words, what is the organising principle for dividing text into separate paragraphs?
2. Identifying the Central Idea in a Paragraph
The following text is entitled, What makes for good study? The text is divided into bullet points which offer useful advice about getting started on your study. See if you can match the suggested headings below the text to each paragraph. One extra, unnecessary heading has been provided. 1. Treat starting any unrewarding task as a professional job that has to be done. Recognize some things are not always rewarding to do, such as essay writing and essential course reading. Others, like discussing ideas with friends, solving problems and making lists can have a payoff. You may not like it, but start it anyway. 2. If you write only one paragraph, you have started. Big study tasks look smaller if you: write one paragraph, make a list of topics, make a note about a chapter you are reading or read ten pages thoroughly. If you do nothing then nothing is exactly what you get. 3. Promise yourself a reward for writing the extra paragraph or studying the extra page. 4. Fix a time to continue the next period of study and stick to it. This is important because the brain cannot cope with long periods of intensive last-minute study. You also need to study in frequent small chunks of time in order to keep your momentum going. 5. Avoid passive study. If you read a chapter, you need to make useful notes. If you listen to a lecture, make notes to keep yourself involved. Students who participate in sessions and seminars understand more and their active involvement encourages remembering. 6. Learn to read quickly. Reading slowly along lines of text results in less being taken in than if you read quickly. Barnes, R (2005) Successful Study for Degrees (3rd edn) Abingdon: Routledge
A. Becoming an active learner
B. The importance of note-taking
C. Study can be rewarding
D. Take a step by...
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