To the question, how does one study history, there is no single answer. The techniques used will vary widely. What will be successful for one student will not work for another. A study pattern evolved for one instructor may have to be altered for another. However, there is an approach to the study of history that has proved universally successful: mastering the material covered in the textbook. The Student's Manual to Accompany The United States Since 1865, by Foster Rhea Dulles, provides a guide to accomplishing this.
In the foreword to this book, Warren A. Beck recommends that students proceed in the following matter:
1. Study the chapter summaries in the Manual in order to obtain an introduction to the material covered.
2. Read the chapter with care, seeking to understand and retain the essential material. Either underline the key passages in the text or take notes as necessary.
3. Put the text aside and answer the multiple choice questions in the Manual. When completed, check your answers. If you have understood what you have read you should be able to answer most of the questions correctly.
4. Check the terms, events, and personalities to know. Write out the answers to these if necessary.
5. Make an outline answering the essay questions. Some students will want to write their answers to these questions in essay form.
6. In preparing for tests the student should incorporate the material from his class notes with that of the text.
7. The map exercises will make the textual material more meaningful. To complete these exercises consult the maps in your text or a standard historical atlas.