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Study Tips for Different Learning Styles

Make the most of your study time by identifying your learning style and exploring study methods that work the best for you.

As a military spouse balancing home, family and school, studying efficiently can help you make the most of your study time. Everyone learns differently and understanding how you retain information can cut down on your study time and potentially increase your chances for academic success. Learning styles are classified into three basic categories: visual, auditory and kinesthetic or tactile learning. Discover some of the basic characteristics and study tips for each learning style.

Visual learning

Visual learners learn best by sight. Maps, diagrams, graphs and other visual aids help these learners understand and retain ideas and concepts. Here are a few study strategies for visual learners:

  • Take thorough notes in class or while reading. Review your notes when preparing for a quiz or exam and use a highlighter to help you focus on important information.
  • Create outlines for each textbook chapter you cover in class.
  • Make color-coded flashcards for material you need to remember.
  • Develop your own diagrams, flowcharts, maps or timelines when appropriate. For example, you might create a timeline when preparing for a history exam or a flowchart if you are trying to learn a scientific process.

Auditory learning

Auditory learners process information best by listening. These learners find it easiest to remember information they've heard on a recording or in class. Here are a few tips for auditory learners:

  • Record your instructor's lectures so you can replay the recording when you're studying. Be sure you ask for permission to record. If you can't get permission, record yourself reciting your notes from class.
  • Make flashcards to review aloud.
  • Find a study partner or group so you can recite information you need to remember.
  • Repeat information you've memorized aloud with your eyes closed. Eliminating visual distractions can help you focus on the information you are reciting.

Tactile or kinesthetic learning

Tactile learners, also called kinesthetic learners, learn by doing and tend to have a secondary learning style. Some of the auditory and visual study tips may also help these learners retain information. Additional study tips for tactile learners include the following:

  • Copy important notes repeatedly. The act of writing information repetitively can help you remember it.
  • When memorizing material, pace or walk around the room as you recite the material aloud.
  • Keep something flexible in your hand as you study, such as a stress ball to squeeze or use a pen to tap a rhythm.
  • Study in short intervals. Take breaks, get up and move around.
  • List examples in your notes of how you can apply what you're learning to your life.
  • Physically practice concepts, if you can. For example, if you are studying communications, practice the verbal techniques you are studying with a partner. If you are taking a computer application course, use the software in addition to reading about how it works.
  • Listen to music while studying.

Now that you have identified your learning style, follow the study tips to maximize your time and retain information in the most effective way. For more study tips, visit the Academic, Test Taking and Study Skills Readiness section of the Education, Training and Licensing lifecycle stage of MySECO. You can also speak with a career coach at 800-342-9647.

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