Highlighting technique

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Highlighting technique

Post by ma986 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:30 pm


I was hoping for someone to help me with this technique. I'm fairly new to NS program and I am up to lesson 3. I have heard consistently that highlighting should be done after reading the paragraph. I tried doing this, but find myself rereading the paragraph to focus on what to highlight thereby wasting more time. However, I'm used to highlighting and reading as I go along. With this method, I don't run out of time as much and can find what I need in the passage. I also do not over highlight while doing this as I've trained myself to highlight only specific words / terms.

Am I still using this technique wrong? Or should I train myself to follow the technique to read the passage first and then highlight.

Would appreciate any input.


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Re: Highlighting technique

Post by NS_Tutor_Andrew » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:22 pm

Hi ma986,

The short answer to your question is: do what works.

The slightly longer answer is: do what works, but experiment to see if something works better.

Now, for a longer answer. At Next Step, we don't believe that there is One True Way (TM) to approach CARS (or reading science passages, for that matter). Everyone is unique, and different people have different ways of processing information. In fact, even among our core team of senior instructors, we have different preferences for how to do CARS -- I'm a skimmer, while Bryan (as you may have heard on the videos) prefers to read slowly and carefully and then answer the questions quickly. However, there is always a reason for why we recommend certain things, so let me share with you the rationale on highlighting, and then you can go from there in terms of what you want to do.

The basic idea is that highlighting is more useful if it is more mindful. Sometimes, if you highlight as you read, you can find yourself highlighting terms because they seem like they might be important, but without really processing what the sentence is actually saying. Therefore, it can be useful to read for a little while, stop, ask yourself "what did I just read & what parts of it matter?", and then highlight -- that way, you're building a stronger mental connection with the material. Now, there are a couple ways that you could do this -- you could read a whole paragraph and then go back, you could read a few sentences and then go back, or you could even just read slowly and make sure you think about each sentence as you read it.

The bottom line is that if it's not broken, don't fix it. If you're happy and confident with your technique, that's great! The only caveat I would suggest is to experiment a little bit with taking pauses to reflect before highlighting to see if it improves your comprehension/confidence with passages. If so, keep on in that spirit, and if not, do what works.

Hope this is helpful, & happy New Year!
Andrew D.
Content Manager, Next Step Test Prep.
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