Study advice for Philosophy 125: Philosophy of Science

The following advice for succeeding in this course is aggregated from the feedback of students who have succeeded in this course. As you will see, the advice they give is work-intensive. However, it has the very significant virtue that it is proven to work.

This advice pertains to each chapter within each module. Optimally you should not try to do more than one chapter per day. 

General advice: Work without distractions and take regular breaks. If you believe that you are good at multi-tasking, then you believe this falsely. Multi-tasking is a non existent phenomenon, and those who believe they are good at it tend to do poorly. 

1. For each chapter of the book:

    1.  Skim the chapter once and review the study questions for the chapter (link on the top of the schedule page.)
    2.  Read the chapter carefully, taking notes. Be sure to label your notes as the notes for that chapter of the book.
    3.  Return to the study questions and make sure you can answer all of them correctly. 
    4. Take the chapter quiz online.
    5. For any questions that you miss, return to the chapter to discover the correct answer.
    6. Re-take the quiz until you get a perfect or near perfect score.
2.  For each lecture corresponding to the textbook chapter.
  1. Watch the lecture without distractions, taking notes as above. Do not rely on the lecture slides.
  2. Remember that almost all lectures contain some material that is not in the book.
  3. Make sure you know the answer to all of the study questions at the end of the lectures. Return to the lecture to discover the answer to any that you do not know, and emphasize these in your notes. For this purpose it is far more efficient to simply watch the entire lecture again rather than to search the video for the correct answer.
  4. Take the lecture quiz online and follow steps 5 and 6 above. Use the lecture slides for spot checking your understanding if necessary.
3. If any confusions exist at the end of either of the processes above, be sure to email the instructor for help. He normally responds very quickly. Be sure your questions are informed. Do not simply ask for the answer to a question. Rather, explain what you think the answer should be and why. For questions about quiz questions, send a screenshot of the question.

4. Before taking the module test, retake all of the quizzes and review relevant material for any questions you get wrong. 

5. When taking the module test, be sure to  read the questions very carefully. Many of the questions are identical to quiz questions, but others vary slightly. They are not varied in a way that is deceptive, but only in a way that would foil attempts to succeed on the test without understanding the material. 

5. When doing the journal entries:

    1.  Be sure to engage the supplemental videos fully when they are relevant. Always write answers that show that you have done this. 
    2. Follow the directions and advice at the bottom of your journal and be sure you understand the grading rubric on the syllabus. Study the sample answer and the comments carefully.
    3. When writing your answers, always imagine that your reader is someone who is unfamiliar with the material. Be especially attentive to the requirement to define technical terms before using them.  
    4. Be sure that your writing shows that you understand what you are saying. 
    5. Study the instructor's comments and be sure that your future entries are improved in light of them. Failure to improve your entries in response to comments causes future entries to get lower grades.
    6. Be especially attentive to the requirement to avoid writing long paragraphs. Study each question and break them down into parts. Devote a paragraph to each part.
    7. You may respond to comments, but do not ask questions you expect to be answered in this way. Always do this by email.