How to study to your advantage

Studying is exhausting by itself, without trying to force a learning style that just doesn't suit you. There are different learning theories, the most recent showing 8 different styles: visual, aural, linguistic, kinesthetic, logical, naturalistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. You can find out your personal learning styles from this quiz; everyone has a mix of learning styles that they are stronger in. For example- I am mainly a visual-spacial, musical, and naturalistic learner ☞

There are different methods that work for each learning style (and sometimes those methods overlap between styles), so I've made a list of techniques and methods from my own experience and some other articles (they're all listed at the end if you want to check them out) to make it easier for you!

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kinesthetic learners process information through physical activities and prefer 'hands-on' learning.

during class

  • take advantage of breaks if your teacher allows them- get up and walk around as much as you can
  • don’t put pressure on learning during the lecture; write down what the teacher says and copy your notes your way after class to actually absorb it
  • doodle the lecture (make sure your doodles are not a distraction; doodle what the teacher is saying, or something that has to do with the lecture)
  • chew gum, play with a stress ball, anything to do something physically while you listen

while studying

  • flash cards
  • move around or exercise while you listen to/watch/read your study material (i used to have my text book propped up on the treadmill at the gym. it really helps to learn and keeps your mind off exercise)
  • use movements to memorize
  • doodle the lecture (make sure your doodles are not a distraction; doodle what the teacher is saying, or something that has to do with the lecture)
  • trace words, re-write sentences, do things physically
  • create your notes and charts with sticky notes, poster board, etc; physically put your notes together with glue and scissors
  • build a 3D model of what you're learninng

other things you can do

  • unfortunately most education in general isn't made for kinesthetic learners. since everyone has several learning styles, try to use tactics from your secondary learning style.

linguistic learners understand new concepts through words, whether it be speech or writing.

during class

  • record the lesson (with your teacher’s permission) to listen to later
  • Engage in discussions and ask question

while studying

  • listen to audiobooks
  • join a study group
  • read the material aloud (make it interesting and varied, not just monotone)
  • discuss the topics with your friends
  • 'teach' the topic to someone (just summarize what you learned to someone)
  • use acronyms
  • use mind maps

logical learners think conceptually and explore patterns and relationships.

during class

  • ask questions! Understanding why something is the way it is will help you memorize it

while studying

  • if your teacher doesn't explain logically, or you're too shy to ask, look up youtube videos, other lectures, articles, etc. to understand fully
  • pay attention to what you are researching, logical learners tend to over-analyze unnecessary material- bring your mind back to the task and analyze that
  • flow charts and mind-mapping
  • highlight key material

aural learners understand information conveyed through music and sound.

during class

  • ask questions and for teachers to paraphrase if you don't understand
  • record the lesson to listen to later (with the teacher's permission)
  • engage in discussions

while studying

  • study groups
  • rhymes/songs to memorize material
  • study out loud; talk your way through a problem or question
  • read out loud/audiobooks
  • quiet instrumental music in the background

naturalistic learners think holistically and learn best by working with or in nature.

during class

  • ask the teacher to represent abstract concepts with physical objects, or to give examples from the natural world

while studying

  • study outdoors!! find a quiet place in your garden or at a park
  • if you have a pet, study with it in the room
  • relate your studies to nature; the sciences and geography can especially be incorporated to the outdoors, but you can also find mathematical patterns or inspiration for the arts

other things you can do

  • fill your study space with things from nature; plants, classification posters, photographs, large windows, ambient sounds with nature, an aquarium, etc.
  • garden or spend time outside during your study breaks

visual-spacial learners remember things visually and think in terms of physical space

during class

  • sit near the front of the classroom
  • try to visualize things that you hear/ are read to you
  • write down key words, ideas, or instructions
  • highlight~
  • draw pictures to help explain new concepts

while studying

  • use flashcards to learn new words
  • color coding your notes
  • clear your study area of distractions
  • keep your notes organized
  • visual note taking
  • annotate and highlight books you need to read

other things you can do

  • have your eyesight checked on a regular basis

interpersonal learners prefer social learning environments.

during class

  • engage in discussions
  • take advantage of group projects and tasks

while studying

  • join a study group
  • participate in group projects and activities whenever possible
  • find and analyze relationships where you can
  • roleplay
  • 'teach' the subject to someone else
  • compare notes with another social learner
  • choose areas to study like a cafe or the library with lots of people around

intrapersonal are solitary learners that work best alone with little distractions from other people.

during class

  • if you find that, during class, being surrounded by people is too exhausting, take a minute or two to reflect by yourself and withdrawl from the classroom (meditating can help with this!)
  • record lectures to listen to later if you find yourself having a hard time learning in class with so many distractions around you

while studying

  • find quiet places to study (a library, an empty classroom, your bedroom)
  • avoid group studying
  • discuss topics by yourself or with your pet
  • set goals for yourself and monitor your process

other things you can do

  • have a 'study agenda' or journal in which you can keep track of your progress
  • make clear academic goals for yourself that relate to your personal goals and beliefs

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As I said, everyone is a mix, so combining some of these tips can also be super helpful! I am a visual and auditory learner, so when I need to read a book for class, sometimes I’ll listen to the audiobook and doodle scenes in the book. It really helps me focus and visualize, plus when I look back at my drawings I remember that part of the book!

If you're having trouble with learning in a learning style that isn't yours (a non-logical learner in math, a kinesthetic learner in traditional lectures) you can either try to develop your intelligence in that learning style, or translate it to your preferred style.

The education system is made for linguistic learners, so you can try to develop your linguistic intelligence:

  • play word games
  • read more (or read more challenging books)
  • read the newspaper or articles
  • listen to the radio/watch the news
  • join a debate team
  • participate in discussions between friends/family members more
  • keep a diary or try creative writing

Basically challenge yourself; if you already do these things, step it up a notch.

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