Bulky dry ingredients, such as coconut, shredded cheese, rice, chopped nuts, baking chips, should be spooned into the measuring cup. When the cup is full enough, pat the ingredients lightly and use your fingers to level the contents. Do not pack the ingredients down. Packing tightly will cause you to add too much of these ingredients to your recipe.
Brown sugar and shortening are two ingredients that do require packing down when measuring to allow the proper amount to be added to a recipe. Another thing to keep in mind when measuring ingredients is to not mistake fluid ounces for ounces. Ounces measure weight and fluid ounces measure volume.