Studying for tests or exams can be a stressful time; trying to remember large amounts of notes and data can be a daunting task. Why not discover how you can help yourself retain the maximum amount of information possible? Research has shown your preferred learning style can influence the way you absorb, process, understand and retain information. Knowing how you learn most effectively will help you achieve better results while studying.
One of the most common learning style methods is the VARK model designed by New Zealand’s own Neil Fleming; he has divided learning into the following categories:
- Visual (Spatial). Prefer pictures or images that represent ideas rather than just words. Visual learners should make the most of graphics like charts and diagrams; try replacing important concepts with symbols or initials. Highlight key terms in suitable colours.
- Aural (Auditory). Prefer listening to sounds; understand best when hearing rather than reading information. Aural Learners benefit from recording summarised notes and listening to them playback, re-listening to recorded lectures. Reading notes out loud to themselves, or discussing your notes or ideas with others.
- Read/Write. Prefer ideas expressed in words, reading and writing. Read/Write Learners should rewrite words and notes repeatedly. Try rewording main ideas and concepts, turn diagrams, and graphics into words.
- Kinesthetic (Physical). Prefer learning through doing or participating in something rather than just sitting listening. Kinesthetic learners should try to summarise notes using real life experiences. Use physical objects to redo experiments or projects and use pictures and photographs that illustrate concepts.
Understanding your own learning style can help to maximise the amount of information you retain while studying, helping to improve the speed and quality of your learning. Next time you have an exam or test to study for try using your preferred learning style to help you optimise your study time.