How to Study The Way Your Brain Wants You To
Student problems: How to study effectively? How to understand what you’ve read? How to improve your memory so you don’t forget? As a student solutions to these problems will not only make your day but your entire life.
Do you have techniques you used to study? A system or method that makes it easy for you to understand and recall what you’ve read?
If you don’t it is time you did. Not only will it make your study life a whole lot easier it will boost the most important aspect of all that effort you are putting in: that is having excellent grades.
The same thing can be applied to a job. You get hired for a job based on the fact that you know and understand how to do something.
You see this every time in job descriptions: “Must know how-to” or “must be proficient in”
So your ability to understand and retain anything you learn is essential.
A reason why you may struggle with learning to understand and remembering what you learn may have to with how you go about it.
You may not know this but we all process information differently. We all absorb information differently too.
Knowing how you best take in and understand information will go a long way to helping you do well in your studies or at a job.
So without much further ado let’s look at the various learner types (how you learn) and you should try to identify the one that is mostly you. I say mostly because you may have more than one way of learning but chances are that you have a preferred or more dominant way.
Experts in the field of learning have discovered that people learn in roughly three different ways.
As the name implies visual learners learn best by looking at images. So if this is you if you prefer watching videos and looking at pictures if you need to understand something.
Now with the arrival of the internet, YouTube and the likes your work is now a lot easier. You can now support the notes you get in a class with pictures or videos online to make everything easier.
I’m sure you’ve come across them without realising it. Or you may even be one.
They are the ones you may see playing or doing nothing during the exam period, while you are sweating it out in one corner reading overnight.
Or even if they have to read they may be playing loud music in the background or with headsets. And you will be wondering how on earth that does not make it harder for anyone to concentrate.
But when the results are out they scale through without seeming to have broken a single sweat. For such people, they have listened in class and understood everything. Sound, makes it go down very well.
Occasionally you may see them even talking to themselves and they look crazy but they are not they are simply reinforcing what they have learned by listening to themselves or bouncing off ideas with other people by talking with them. Listening facilitates their understanding of things.
If this is you then things, like playing music and listening to recordings of your lectures, will help you a great deal.
Tactile (Kinesthetic) Learner
Such a learner understand best by being hands-on i.e by touching. If this is you, you enjoy taking notes, scribbling stuff down or drawing. Generally, you may dislike sitting still for long periods because it’s boring.
You like action. So you may find yourself shaking your legs under the desk, twirling your pen in your hand or tapping it against the table or doing engaging in some form of physical activity even while seated.
Having a physical experience or connection with what you are being taught held you understand it better.
For example, if you were to be taught how to solve a math equation you will understand it better if you were given the chalk or marker and asked to go to the board rather than just let someone explain it to you or do the writing for you.
Now that you know all this what should you do?
The first thing you can do is to use this knowledge to gain a better understanding of yourself that is what type of learner you are and then play to your strengths.
See if you can find a way to learn new things that are presented to you using your best learning technique.
The second thing you can use this knowledge, for example, is to see if it can help you pick a career or course. If find you are a more visual person for example perhaps you may consider choosing a career or course that is visually in nature.
The last thing you can do with this information is to try to work on your weaker learning techniques.
Say you are good at hands-on work (practicals) but you’re not so good at listening in class, you now you have the opportunity to learn how to improve on it by learning how to use auditory techniques to learn.
Now, you may wonder why this is necessary.
The truth is that there are certain things you cannot learn using a particular learning style.
if you needed to learn how to draw a diagram of the human heart, you have no choice but to use your eyes to do that.
Or can you, for example, learn the same diagram by just listening to a heartbeat? No, you cannot.
Besides working on all learning techniques can only benefit you, in the long run, you will be able to easily learn a lot of things and this it would translate to better grades better and or better on the job performances. And there are people who excel at all three. Something you can do if you put your mind to it.
So to round up, I’m going to put down a list of study tips which will show how learners of a particular type may go about understanding and remembering what they have learned. Master your own and then learn the others as well.
- Uses visualization a lot (in the mind i.e think in pictures)
- May translate written words into images to make it stick.
- videos, pictures, diagrams, graph, presentations facilitate understanding
- May prefer to study alone( want distraction-free environment)
- Enjoy listening to lecturers
- Asking questions or commenting helps to understand
- Enjoy group study because the subject can be discussed out loud.
- Memories best by reading out loud to themselves or to someone else
Tactile (Kinesthetic) Learner
- Been active facilitates understanding.
- Enjoy doing practicals
- Will benefit by acting out what they read or simply been able to move (like walking around) while reading.
Now, tactile learners struggle a lot especially in Nigeria where most knowledge is delivered by talking or if you are lucky visually but you need to get creative here: rewriting is a great way to physically connect with your work. You may volunteer to assist the teacher during class or asked to be the one to do the demonstration.
Bottom line, this is about discovering how best you understand and retain information and then using it to improve your studies and or your job.
And that it! Hopefully, with all, you now know how to study for your next exam will be less of a challenge.
Now over to you what can kind of learner do you think you are and what ways to study have you come up with to facilitate understanding and remembering?