A diagram is the presentation of the main and secondary ideas of a lesson that are structured in a logical fashion. This logical structure of the subject matter that is being studied allows you to capture all of the content at a glance.

     Some characteristics of a good diagram are: collects all of the main and secondary ideas, as well as the data that was previously underlined; they should be presented in a logical and structured manner which facilitates understanding and memorization; uses the words that a student would use and briefly displays short phrases that recollect the ideas of the topic with precision and clarity.

        Making diagrams have several advantages: Since it is an active study technique it increases interest and concentration levels on the subject that is being studied, while at the same time improves memorization. Structuring ideas makes it easier to understand. It favors memorization, since you must use your visual memory. And above all, it saves you time since you must only memorize a diagram, make subsequent reviews going directly to what is important instead of having to read the entire lesson again.

    You can follow these steps to make a diagram: First, read the entire lesson and underline by following the common rules. Second, think of a title that summarizes the content of the lesson. Divide the topic into three or four general sections that collect several main ideas each, and these latter other secondary ideas and significant data. Put each idea in a separate paragraph and formulate it briefly and with precision. It is a good idea to leave margins to the left and right side for possible subsequent notes. And finally, take into account that the vertical paragraphs correspond to the same category leaving aside the corresponding indents.

      Although everyone can make their diagrams in a personal way, these are three types of diagrams: numeric, mixed (with letters and numbers) and graphic or keys, also called the synoptic table.

      The numeric diagram uses numbers 1., 2., etc. , for the general sections; 1.1, 1.2, etc., for the main ideas, and 1.1.1, 1.1.2, etc., for secondary ideas, thereby increasing the numbering as long as it is necessary.

      The mixed diagram uses roman numerals (I, II, III) for the general sections, upper case letters (A, B, C) for the main ideas, numbers (1, 2, 3) for the secondary ideas, and lowercase letters and numbers in parentheses can also be added.

       After becoming familiar with these models of diagrams, you can surely use others.

    Arturo Ramo García

Instructions: Select one of the buttons with letters a, b and c. The selected answer will appear in red.


1.- A good diagram covers:       

a) Some of the main and secondary ideas, as well as data.

b) All the main and secondary ideas, as well as data. 

c) Only the main ideas.

2.- Making a diagram:    

a) Facilitates comprehension.

b) Improves one’s reading.

c) Improves one’s motivation.

3.- Before making a diagram, one should:   

a) Make a summary.

b) Read the lesson and underline. 

c) Read the lesson twice.

4.- Paragraphs in the same category:

a) Must correspond horizontally.

b) Must correspond vertically.  

c) Have no relation.

5.- Each one can make a diagram in a personal way:

a) Always.

b) After the summary.

c) After making the numeric and mixed diagrams.  


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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of29-IX-1999
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