NOTE: The citations for the terms are found where they appear in the Units.


Auditory: Of, or relating to hearing, or to the sense or organs of hearing

Annotation: Annotating text is a purposeful note taking system. It includes highlighting, underlining, circling, writing marginal notes and other ways to draw the eye to key information or questions a reader might have.

Cognitive: Relating to the part of mental functions that deals with logic; Intellectual.

Kinesthetic Learning Style: A learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations. People with a preference for kinesthetic learning are also commonly known as “do-ers”.

Modality: The way, or mode, in which something exists or is done.


Expository: Explanatory. Expository writing includes argument/persuasive, cause/effect, comparison/contrast, definition, exemplification and process writing.

Locus of Control: The extent to which individuals believe they can control events affecting them […] A person’s “locus” (Latin for “place” or “location”) is conceptualized as either internal (the person believes they can control their life) or external (meaning they believe their decisions and life are controlled by environmental factors which they cannot influence, or by chance or fate).

Self-Efficacy: One’s belief in one’s ability to achieve goals successfully.

Style Manual: Any one of a number of manuals that explain the rubric for manuscript presentation. Elements include such things as spacing, heading, page numbering, and Works Cited/Bibliography organization. Modern Language Association (MLA) is very common for most undergraduate papers. Others include the American Psychological Association (APA) style, the Chicago Manual of Style, and the Associated Press Stylebook (AP).

World View: The fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society’s knowledge and point of view.


Close Reading: The process of determining meaning in a text by examining all of the elements, e.g., author, title, plot (if fiction), characters, setting, symbols, and rhetorical devices.

Cognitive: The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.

Fiction: Writing that is not factual; imaginative writing.

Legend: A key to the symbols and color codes on a map, chart, etc.

Metacognition: How we think about how we think.

Non-fiction: Factual writing (reports, journalism, etc.); not “made up.”

Inference: Information not specifically stated in the text; what can be read “between the lines”: what is suggested or implied based on the evidence in the text.

Idioms: Expressions (metaphors) that compare one thing to another, e.g., “hungry as a bear.”

Metaphor: A comparison without using the terms, “like” or “as,” e.g., “Her smile is the sunshine.”

Reading Comprehension: The level of understanding of a text.

Simile: A comparison using the terms “like,” “as,” “so,” or “than,” e.g., “Her smile is like the sunshine.”


Side bar:”Information placed adjacent to an article in a printed or Web publication, graphically separate but with contextual connection.” Examples” brief biographies, lists of items, resources.


Acronym: A mnemonic device created by using the first letters of words to make a new word that will help you remember it. Example: NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

Acrostic: A mnemonic device made by creating a sentence using the first letters of key words in the items to remember. Example: the order of operations in math problems can be remembered by the acrostic: “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally,” i.e., Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, and Subtract.

Mnemonics: Memory devices such as rhymes, acronyms and acrostics.



Cramming: The practice of believing that everything you can learn in order to pass a test can be read, studied, memorized, analyzed, adapted, organized, transcribed, and fully comprehended the night before the test while hoping that you will have the mental, physical, and/or emotional stamina and fortitude to pull it all off. And you hope you don’t also get sick (or one of your kids gets sick, if you have kids) or have to go in to work (if you also work), or something like that, too, that very night. In short: DON’T DO IT*. That said, sometimes instructors might announce a “surprise quiz” for the very next day. In that case, here are a few good pointers on how TO cram.

*This definition is based on my own expertise/resources/and maybe even a few bad memories…

Other citations are included in the Unit overviews of the Lessons in which the words appear. Definitions have been adapted.


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How to Learn Like a Pro! Copyright © 2016 by Phyllis Nissila is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.