Saturday, 4 July 2015

12. What pre-reading and post-reading meant to me.

In my second attempt of completing final year, I have seen how pre-reading had helped me make use of lectures more efficiently: it enabled me to follow in lectures, to be more attentive, increased my chances of understanding the insight shared and knowledge lecturers shared on the chapters lectured. All of this contributed to better understanding complex concepts, getting through long chapters and eventually passing enough to graduate and getting into the next level of my studies.

Pre-reading is something I did for an hour to an hour and a half - when I finally understood the purpose of pre-reading and how I was supposed to go about it.

Initially I had the mentality that pre-reading meant studying each page of the chapter/(s) - word for word - with understanding. It did not quite work, especially because the chapters seemed long, and concepts complex. It took too long for me to understand and thus demotivating.

When I asked him about pre-reading, my former classmate and Bcom Accounting post-graduate, Brenton Booysen, clarified to me that pre-reading is intended to help get an idea of what the chapter is about. I then discovered, from our discussion, that I did not have to understand everything when I pre-read. I will get more clarity in lectures.

I ended up speed-reading chapters before lectures; putting question marks where I was completely lost - which served as a reminder to be attentive when the lecturer covers that particular section in the lecture. I also needed a consistent follow-up on that: going back to the questions I had and verify if they were answered during the lecture. If they were not answered or if I still did not understand, that meant post-reading and / or consultation. Of course, all that needed discipline on my side to make sure I do all those things.

Post-reading is something I thought would make sure I fully understood the chapter(s) covered in lectures. My post-reading sessions have gone from re-reading chapters - which was demotivating and took too long; to reading the notes I made in class - which was beneficial since it brought comfort in knowing that I understood the concepts that were covered in the lectures. However, it was not enough, as reflected from the results of mini tests done during the year.

What I discovered about final year in the Bcom Accounting course is that we are tested on application of the theory covered. I realised that I needed to spend more time on practising questions, so that I know how to answer test and exam questions instead of knowing the theory that I was not able to implement.

I then figured that in order to fully understand the chapters and be better prepared for tests and exams; I had to reconsider how to go about my post-reading sessions. They came in different forms:
  •  Re-read the notes I made in class and thereafter do questions before attempting homework
  • Focus more on the sections that I wasn't clear on and thereafter do some questions before attempting homework
  • Do questions and allow them to guide me as to what concepts I still did not understand; in which I would go back and study them; thereafter attempt homework.
 Whichever of these I chose was dependent on how much I understood during pre-reading and how much I understood during lectures. For instance: when I felt comfortable about the particular chapter/(s) after lectures, I simply read my notes, practiced very few questions and attempted homework. Whereas when I was not completely happy about the chapter/(s), I consulted the lecturers on specific sections and exercises that were done during class. This also required descipline on my side.

There were times when I either did not pre-read/ post-read, or did not complete my pre-reading/post-reading sessions; either because of unexpected interruptions or simply because of being lazy. Having the discipline to make sure that I did my sessions as much as I could for most of my 2015 academic year - keeping in mind the benefits, is what I believe contributed to being able to complete my undergraduate studies.

Thank you so much for your time. I certainly hope you have gained something from the insight shared. Please feel free to share your views on this topic; or perhaps some insight that you would also like to share in relation to this topic. You can share on the blog's Facebook page Student-Talk is also on Twitter

Until next time :)

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