Everyone learns differently. Maybe you absorb material best through reading and writing out notes. Or, you’re better off doing hands-on experiments and projects. Perhaps you need to make up word association games to remember all those formulas.
Not sure what your learning style is? Take our quiz to find out.
Depending on which way you learn best, certain study tips and tricks may work better for you, helping you find greater success in school. We’ve gathered 3 of the best study tips for each of the three learning types: visual, kinaesthetic, and auditory:
Visual Learners: Learn By Reading
If you’re a visual learner, you best absorb and retain material after seeing it written down. Reading textbooks, taking notes, and studying charts and graphs all help you grasp concepts and learn the material. These 3 study tips will help you maximize your visual processing when studying:
Outline Notes & Reading Material
Bust out those skills you learned in middle school – and those Roman numerals – and outline your reading materials as you go. This organizational method helps you easily see how pieces of information relate to one another, and you’re forced to boil down complex concepts into simpler sentences to keep your outlines short.
There’s also a bonus to using this method when reading: You can easily take an outline you’ve built while reading your textbook and turn it into an essay! You’ll save yourself lots of time going back over the material to organize it into a paper.
Use Graphs, Charts, & Diagrams
If your study material already has charts or diagrams that highlight main points in the material, study these or even re-draw them as you study. Not all material has handy diagrams included, so be on the lookout for opportunities to turn your reading material into an illustration. Build timelines for classes where dates are important, “picture books” to help you remember names or places, and compare/contrast charts. Because you think visually, charts and other pictorial material helps you re-create the information in your mind when it comes time to take a test.
Write & Rewrite Your Notes – By Hand
Though typing away at your computer while reading a material may be a quick way of taking notes, you learn best by engaging deeply with the words you’re reading. Take notes by hand, then rewrite them as you study. Because you’re slowing down to really absorb the words and see them as you write them, you’re more likely to remember the material than if you were just reading it or typing.
Kinaesthetic Learners: Learn By Doing
As a kinaesthetic learner, you learn by working with your hands. As a kid, you loved science experiments and building historical dioramas and crafting popsicle stick bridges. To really get you engaged in the material you’re learning, you need to keep your hands busy so your brain can follow.
Study While You Move
If you’ve got a long list of names, dates, or facts to memorize, go for a walk and repeat the list over and over again. Haul your textbook to the gym and read while you ride the stationary bike. Create some flashcards with those definitions you need to memorize and run sprints if you give an incorrect answer. Anything you can think of that can get your body moving while also getting your studying in will help you better integrate and retain that information.
Keep Your Fingers Busy
Part of the reason you do so well learning by doing is because your brain and your body work in harmony, more than any other type of learner. For your brain to be fully turned on to remembering what you’re studying, your body needs to be moving in some way. Keeping your hands busy while you read or recite notes will keep you from getting distracted by sitting still, increasing your chances of learning the material.
Build 3D Charts & Diagrams
While a visual learner can retain information by just looking at or rewriting a graph, you need something more to help you out. Instead of drawing a comparison chart on paper, for example, create one out of separate sticky notes. Create a 3D timeline of important dates with paper-doll drawings of crucial figures. Getting fully interactive with your material is going to be beneficial, so get creative!
Auditory Learners: Learn By Hearing
Why read a book when you can listen to it? As an auditory learner, your brain processes information best through your ears, which would explain why you’re so hooked on podcasts. To maximize your study time, you’ll need to put your voice to work with these 3 tips:
Record Your Notes
You need to hear information to process it best, which can be a challenge as an online student without traditional lectures. However, it’s not impossible to mold your study habits to fit your learning style. If you’re given written outlines and study guides, read them into your phone or another recording device for later. As you read a book, read your notations instead of writing them. And, if you do take notes, read them aloud to yourself as you’re studying instead of staying silent.
Join Study Groups
Exchanging ideas and getting clarification on concepts you’ve studied is important to you, and there’s no better way to figure out complicated material than with other students such as yourself. As an online student, this will take a little extra organization on your part, but it’s totally doable thanks to technology. Find some classmates who live near you and gather at a local coffee shop, or set up a standing Skype session before a big test if everyone’s too far away. Need help connecting with your online classmates? We’ve got 5 tips to get you started.
Limit Outside Noises
Your hearing is likely much more sensitive than most people’s, and you’re more easily distracted by sudden noises. Because of this, you need to limit outside noises as much as possible when you really need to study. Get a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to block out external sound, or keep your studying to a quiet room whenever possible. You’ll be much more likely to retain important information if you don’t have extra sounds intruding on your focus.
Online Learning to Fit Your Lifestyle
At NAU Canada Online, we know you’ve got a lot going on. You want to advance in your career, but you need an education that can work around all your other obligations. As pioneers in technical and professional career education since 1941, our online programs allow you to study whenever, wherever you need to.
Ready to take the next step? Contact us today!