When it comes to learning, it’s very evident that there is no “once size fits all” approach. So it seems crazy to expect that one set of study tips will work for everyone.
We’ve come up with some study tips to complement your learning style. You might find that a mix and match approach works best, or you may even find that none of the work that well for you and you’ll devise your own study tips, (in which case please share them with us).
If you learn best by doing things, then you’re probably and active or kinaesthetic learner.
- Don’t just read material, look for exercises or past papers that you can do
- Create experiments or activities that reflect what you’ve learnt
- Find different ways of making notes. Create flash cards, pictures, tables, lists, mind maps, or even record them
- Make your own 3D models or graphs – they don’t have to be fancy. Some butchers paper with post it notes for a timeline is simple but effective
- Join a study group where you can discuss what you’re learning and ask (or answer) questions
If you’re a reflective learner going back over information or events could help you to learn the best.
- Try watching videos or listening to podcasts and audiobooks around the subject you’re learning
- Record yourself reading notes and listen to them over again – pretend you’re doing a blog, vlog or podcast that’s going to be listened to by others to focus your thinking
- Don’t just read material, stop regularly, think of questions about what you’re learning (even potential exam questions) or applications.
- Summarise what you’ve been learning, handwritten or typed
- Imagine you’re writing a Tweet and use a maximum of 140 characters to make concise, to the point summaries
If you love facts, statistics and problem solving, and you naturally work in a practical and methodical manner then you’re probably a sensing learner.
- Find ways to apply your subject to the real world
- Research examples
- Brainstorm some real-world connections with classmates, study groups or with your teacher
- Make notes by creating tables where you can list facts and link them to other ideas or topics
- Look for competitions or challenges where you can apply your knowledge and uncover any gaps in your knowledge
- Use flash cards to revise facts
If you prefer to take in information that is abstract, original, and oriented towards theory. You can see the big picture and try to focus on overall patterns, and you enjoy discovering possibilities or relationships, and working with ideas rather than hard facts, you could be an intuitive learner.
- Find theories and concepts that link facts together
- If you find going over the same material boring, then try to find different way of reviewing your information instead of relying on just your class notes and textbooks. Try finding online videos or tutorials, exercises or activities
- Practise checking details – form news habits where you read back what you write and make sure you read questions fully before answering them
Do you learn best by reading or seeing pictures? And you find that you understand and remember things from sight alone, or you can picture what you are learning in your head? Sounds like you could be a visual learner, try these tips:
- Outline reading notes as you go
- Turn your reading material into graphs, charts, diagrams or other illustrations
- Take notes by hand before you type them up, then try condensing them by hand once or twice – slowing down to read the words could really help you to absorb more
- Look for videos, animations or even movies relating to the concepts you’re studying
- Creating flow charts can be a simple and effective strategy to try
- Colour code your notes as you go
Verbal learners prefer using words and linguistic skills to understand and take in information.
- Summarise your subjects and the condense your notes further into outlines
- If you’re faced with diagrams, graphs or other images, try describing them and writing about them using words
- Go over your subjects with your teacher or other students; talking about what you’re learning could cement the knowledge in your head and help you to be confident you’re on the right track
- Study and discussion groups could be really beneficial
- Sit with family or friends and explain the subject to them, encourage them to ask you questions or get you to explain another way if they don’t understand the topic
- Find or make up word games, puns and rhymes etc that could help you to make sense of and remember information.
Those who like things to be in a logical order and retain information best when it’s presented step-by-step.
- Organisation is key – get everything ready, go through it in logical steps (don’t jump about between topics or subjects), learn and make notes in steps
- Group your information into categories that make sense to you
- Take some time to relate new information back to themes and topics you’ve already learned
- Make time to sit with your teacher and go through any key points that you missed or didn’t understand
- Set yourself specific goals
Global learners are intuitive decision-makers who find interpersonal connections are important. If you learn fast but aren’t great at spotting the big picture straight away, you like to take your time and think things through, then this could be you.
- Focus on understanding the big picture first, then start in on the details
- Look for information that provided summaries, whether that’s in the form of articles, books, journals or videos. If you don’t understand or can’t relate it to your topic after that, then you can deep dive into and read the details
- Try not to break your study plan into lots of small sections each day, instead dedicate the entire daily session to one topic or subject
- Look for exercises and activities that push your creativity and help you to generate alternative solutions
- Look for stories and anecdotes related to your subject, or create your own
If you’re not sure what your learning style is (and you could well be a mixture of two or more), try a few different study techniques and see which ones work best for you.
If you need more help understanding your learning style you can read about them in our blog.
You’ll also find more study tips here.
Don’t forget your teachers should always be your first port of call if you’re finding your studies tricky or you think that you’re falling behind. They’ll always be more than happy to help you out.