Outlines Prove Beneficial for Studying

By Kelly Yuen ’16

“Don’t forget to outline the next chapter.” This is a common phrase heard by many Advance Placement (AP) classes. Various AP classes revolve around weekly chapter outlines, but do they actually help?

           An outline is a weekend of freedom, the spare time after homework. Students spend hours writing up events, facts, vocabulary and information that appear relevant to them from the most recent chapter of their textbook. They may be long or short depending on the student.

Chapter outlines often appear in AP classes such as: U.S. History, Psychology, European History. Many students don’t like outlining because they require effort and long periods of time, however many find them beneficial prior to taking the test.

“Outlines are very time consuming, but they are worth it in the end,” said Ashma Khatun ’16, AP Psychology student. “They become an alternative to reading the textbook.”

Outlines can come in handy in studying for the test given on the unit or chapter. They contain

all the necessary information and vocabulary summed up right at your fingertips. You won’t have to spend hours flipping and reading through pages in a textbook, an outline would have simplified into two or three sentences.

“The hard work and effort put into completing the outline pays off,” said Christine Ly ’16, AP U.S. History student. “I get to what I need to know right away and it is clearly stated for me.”

This is only true however if you take your outlines seriously. This means sitting down for hours reading pages and pages of information analyzing and writing down the key ideas and information.

Students who don’t take their outlines seriously simply jot down the highlighted vocabulary and copy down the headlines along with their subtopic titles. Some copy down pages of excessive and irrelevant information.

Well written outlines are those that are in a student’s own words. They display a student’s understanding on the topic and that they have read and interpreted the chapter. Their information is simple and straight to the point.

“I take my outlines seriously,” said Roy Wagner ’16, AP Psychology and U.S. History student. “If no effort is put in, what’s the point of doing them at all?”

Some students find outlines useless. They have no use for them and complete them only to get credit for doing the assignment. They complain that they are a waste of time since they don’t help with their studies. They use alternative methods of studying.

“I don’t find studying from my own outline useful,” said Jocelyn Chen ’16, AP Psychology and Environmental student. “I am a visual learner so I prefer watching videos to study.”

Outlines can be a great help with studies if you take them seriously. They are also a good skill to have for college. Although college classes don’t require them, they may have a lot of notes and long chapters of a textbook to read. Outlines can sum up that workload and organize your information.

Outlines are useful study tools for the AP exam.
Outlines are useful study tools for the AP exam.

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