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Do you have a hard time focusing when you study? You may be trying to use a method that just does not work for you. Learn what your personal learning style is in order to build better study skills and habits. This is an easy way to improve your school performance.
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How These Skills Complement Each Other
When you are relaxing on the floor listening to music and studying index card notes your parents may question your choice of study skills. Are you just looking for an excuse to listen to your favorite band, or are you using a strategy that complements your learning style?
Homework gets done faster and material is retained longer when you master the skill of tailoring study time to your individual learning style. Designing systems to go with individual learning styles leads to higher grades and increased confidence in tackling challenging subjects throughout middle school and high school.
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What's Your Style?
Auditory Learning & Study Skills
If you are an auditory learner, the sense of hearing and verbal information is your best friend.
- Read your notes out loud. Verbalize thoughts, ideas, and key points frequently.
- Create your own “talking study books." Read key portions of text materials into a tape recorder and listen to the recordings to transfer the information to your brain.
- Tackle a subject, for example, the periodic table, and read your way through it, recording it as you go.
- Tape-record lectures and classes (if you can get the school and/or the teacher’s permission) and use the playback for studying.
- Find a study buddy, ideally one who is also an auditory learner, and talk about your homework and notes as study skills builders. Quiz each other orally to reinforce concepts and ideas.
Visual Learners Study Skill Suggestions
Visual learners take in facts through the eyes. Learning effective study skills is a snap for you. Pictures, images, and illustrations are ideal for good results. Videos or films furnish the visual stimulus for studying and retention.
- Focus on keywords and central ideas and consider using index cards to organize notes.
- Use your cards as flash cards for reinforcing key class ideas.
- Have fun! Colorful pens, funky markers, or neon-bright index cards engage your sense of sight.
- Color coding notes with different colors of highlighting pens is a visual way or marking textbooks, and the color draws your eyes to key points immediately.
Study Skills for Tactile or Kinesthetic Learning
Kinesthetic learners activate learning with hands-on projects like making models or using manipulatives. As a tactile learner striving to develop good study skills, you will be challenged, but it can be done.
- Pace, stand, sit on the floor, or read aloud while walking. Mixing physical action with studying is crucial for you.
- Find interactive sites on the subject you are studying, and use them consistently.
- Write your notes on a whiteboard or chalkboard. Use bright colors and write with large letters and numbers.
- Design your own field trips to help develop your study skills. For example, a local science museum offers many opportunities for fine-tuning science study skills.
If you want to maximize your study time and improve school performance, try using customizing these strategies. You may find that one learning style obviously jumps out at you, or you may be a combination of all three. Find out what works for you and then stick with it. Although your parents may question your study style, they won't be able to argue with the results!
- Author's own experience as an educator
- Public Domain Pictures/Petr Kratochvil