Best Study Techniques for Your Learning Style

All students learn through a combination of seeing, hearing, and experiencing. However, for most students, one learning style stands out. Research has shown that students who study in a way that supports their learning style can perform better on tests and improve their grades.
 
For example, visual learners sometimes struggle during essay exams because they can't recall test material that was presented orally during class. However, if the visual learner uses a visual aid when studying, like a colorful outline of test materials, he or she may retain more information.
 
As you develop your study habits in school, it’s important to understand what type of learner you are so you can craft your learning techniques around that. After all, if you can identify techniques that play to your strengths, your chances of remembering information and doing well in school significantly increase.
 
There are three types of learning styles: visualauditory and kinesthetic. In this article, we’ll identify the characteristics of each style and offer some tips to help you optimize the style that fits you best.

 Visual Learners

Characteristics:


Visual learners are those who learn through seeing. Visual learners typically share the following characteristics:

  • Good at spelling, but forget first names

  • Find quiet study time beneficial

  • Enjoy colors and fashion

  • Dream in color

  • Understand visual elements and charts

  • Able to learn sign language easily

Learning Suggestions for Visual Learners:


Take Notes in Class. Visual learners have a tough time remembering every word the teacher says. That’s why it is critical to take notes during class. Be sure you also write down what is written on the board. Once class has ended, re-read and re-write your notes since that process of reading and seeing the words will help commit the information to memory.

Write Outlines. One of the best ways to prep for school exams is to outline your material. This process is especially useful for those who learn best through sight because thinking through the material – and writing it in outline form – will help you create a visual pattern that’s easy for you to understand and recall clearly for exams.

Mark Up Your Materials. Multi-colored highlighters are a visual learner’s best friend because you will remember what you read based on the colors on the paper. Assign each color a value that you’ll need to recall and then use the appropriate colors as you read your class materials and notes. For example, highlight the issue in yellow; the theory in green, etc.

Other Suggestions:

  • Draw a map of events in history or draw a scientific process

  • Diagram sentences

  • Use flashcards

  • Watch videos


Auditory Learners

Characteristics:

Auditory learners are those who learn best through hearing. They typically share the following characteristics:

  • Like to read out loud

  • Unafraid to speak up in class

  • Good at giving explanations and oral reports

  • Remember names

  • Notice sound effects in movies

  • Enjoy music

  • Able to follow spoken directions

  • Struggle to stay quiet for long periods of time

  • Focused in study groups

Learning Suggestions for Auditory Learners:


Record Lectures. Your first priority as an auditory learner is to pay attention during class lectures since listening is how you will retain information. You will also benefit from recording the lecture on your smartphone. Then make time to listen to the recordings after class and write notes from the information.

Talk Out Answers. If you’re an auditory learner, you probably find yourself talking out loud even when you don’t realize it. It’s like you are – literally – hearing yourself think. When you’re studying with sample essay questions, read the questions and answers out loud. Keep in mind you should write the answers on paper as you speak them since your exams are not oral.

Use Word Association. Word association is a great way for auditory learners to study and remember facts. Mnemonic devices, such as songs or rhymes, are great to pair with your notes and outlines. Your brain will automatically recall the song and the information it represents.

Other Suggestions:

  • Study with a partner or group

  • Repeat facts with eyes closed

  • Participate in class and group discussions

  • Use audio for language practice


Kinesthetic Learners

Characteristics:


Kinesthetic learners are those who learn through hands-on experience. Kinesthetic learners typically share the following characteristics:

  • Good at sports

  • Can't sit still for long

  • May have sloppy handwriting

  • Learn well through lab and modeling activities

  • Study with music

  • Enjoy adventure books and movies

  • Fidgety during lectures

Learning Suggestions for Kinesthetic Learners:


Create Flow Charts. Since kinesthetic learners study best by doing, building a structure for your notes will help your mind comprehend the information and recognize patterns easily.
Create flowcharts and graphs in a visual way when you re-write your notes and outline information. For example, use different color Post-it notes to create flowcharts on whiteboards and empty walls. The act of creating the flowchart will help you retain the information.

Combine an Activity with Studying. Kinesthetic learners retain information best when they are doing activities. Try exercising or going for a walk while listening to audio recordings of lectures and notes.

Keep Your Fingers Busy While Studying. One way to enhance your learning is to engage your fingers in the studying. For example, trace words and re-write sentences to learn key facts. Typing your notes and using the computer is another great way to reinforce learning through sense of touch.

Other Suggestions:

  • Study in short blocks

  • Take lab-based classes

  • Act out your study notes

  • Take field trips to reinforce knowledge

  • Study in groups

  • Use flashcards and memory games

 
In summary, students generally tend to favor one learning style more than another, but most people are a mix of two or maybe even three different styles. Whether you’re a visual, auditory, of kinesthetic learner, try a few of these study tips to see which works best for you, and use your strengths to be the most successful student you can be! 

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