Self Understanding

Previously we talked about study skills, but sometimes when it comes to studying there are heaps of study guides, advice columns and blogs and even the odd relative with a theory behind the best methods. As much as these books, internet sites and people do have good tips, sometimes it’s as easy as looking at the mirror. Ask yourself, “How do I learn best?”

It seems like such a tedious question or even a stupid one, but you’ll never get the best marks if you don’t even know how your brain is generating your answers on the page! The trick is to know if you’re a Kinaesthetic, Visual or an Auditory Learner. If you don’t know which one you are, observe yourself or ask your teachers or see which of the following fits your description.

For the Kinesthetic…

“Kinesthetic” means “muscle sense – the sensation by which bodily position, weight, muscle tension, and movement are perceived.” (Collins English Dictionary, 2008) In other words you like doing or experiencing the tasks you’re given.

For kinaesthetic learners it’s all about moving around and getting a hands-on experience on things. Kinaesthetics are known for their ability on the sporting field, but when it’s translated in the classroom, they’re the people who tap their feet under the desk or constantly tap their pens. In some cases they’re also your classmates who are known for their musical and dramatic abilities.

Study tips for those On the Move:

  1. Pace: Most people think that moving with a book in your hand is a terrible mistake. But for those of you who can’t sit at a desk and read, it’s probably best if occasionally you pick your book up and walk about. It’s a physical and mental workout in one, keeping your mind and body awake.
  2. Sit and Reach: Since you can’t pace about in an exam setting, try and make small movements while you’re sitting down. Muscle memory could be a great mental gain in your exam room. Think of it as a game – add various movements to meaningful concepts, but make sure the actions aren’t too extravagant that you get kicked out for cheating.
  3. On your Break: When you take breaks don’t sit and watch TV, get up and do something active. Keeping your body moving helps you maintain an active mind. Since you’ve been moving while you’ve been studying, moving during your breaks help you remember the things you’ve read – try your actions and see if you remember your concepts.
  • WARNING: Make sure your breaks aren’t too long. You could strain your body or bore your mind, which both result in you being tired and sleepy.
For the Visual…

“Visual” refers to “sightperceptible by the sense of sight; visible.” (Dictionary.com Unabridged, 2008). Basically, you learn by seeing things – words, diagrams, pictures etc.

For visual learners your brain is able to remember things that you’ve seen, which is helpful in exams when they use similar words or pictures. Visual learners are often those with an artistic flair, they can see things in some pieces of art, films or even concepts in books that kinaesthetic or auditory learners miss. Viewing things need movement, but unlike their kinaesthetic peers, they need very little movement go understand what they need to see in order to learn.

Study tips for those Who like to View:
 

  1. Rainbow Letters: Being a visual learner, I prefer to have my notes arranged in different colours. Titles must be different to subtitles but even they have to be different from the main body. This takes time, so I usually prefer sticking to the basic black, red and blue colours – this is completely OPTIONAL.
  2. Re-write: Summaries are great for all learners because often looking at the text book or handout can get muddled in your brain. When you see things in your own writing and re-write things in your own way, it becomes easier for your mind to follow and store.
  • I RECOMNED THIS FOR ALL THREE LEARNERS – the easier for you to understand what your teacher, textbook or handout is saying, the easier the information is stored in your brain the better.

      3.   On your Break: Rest your eyes and your hand. If you’re typing, your eyes will be very pleased, if you’re writing, your hand will be very thankful. Do something active! If you’ve been sitting for a long period of time (which is not healthy for your eyes or your wrist) try and do something that will stimulate other parts of your brain as well as you body. Remember a healthy body reflects a healthy mind.

For the Auditory…

“Auditory” is talking about, “hearing perceived through or resulting from the sense of hearing.” (Dictionary.com Unabridged, 2008) Ideally, it mean that you learn best when you hear things.

Auditory learners are the people in your class who can recall exact or almost exact statements that your teacher or even you had stated once before. They’re the once who can pull quotes out of the air or recall various details that weren’t even written down.

Study tips for those Who listen:

 

 

  1. Flash Cards: Similarly to the visual learner’s re-writes, flash cards are easier and simpler for those who like to listen to things. Like the kinaesthetic learner’s pacing methods, it’s easier for visual learners to have something at hand – something they can constantly read out loud to themselves.
  2. Memory Recall: I use to play this came in maths where my teacher would get us all to stand and he would ask us to recite a formula. If we got it right we got to sit down, but if we got it wrong we had to stay standing and get a completely new equation to recite. It’s a great game to play with definitive answers like in Maths or even quotes in English.
  3. On your Break: Try and give your mouth and ears a break, it’s time your eyes did a bit more work. But when you’re eyes start feeling the strain, make sure you get up off your chair and give the rest of your body some exercise – keep both your mind and body fit.

I hope these tips are helpful!

– Anvie (S4S Coaching)

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