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Strategies for Different Types of Learners

You’ve heard the principle that no two people are perfectly alike. Our ways of learning and strategies for studying are no exception. At least once, you might have experienced studying for an exam for weeks and still get scores that fall short of your expectations. Before blaming yourself, it’s useful to know whether you really studied the subject the right way.

Ask yourself these questions and find out what kind of learning strategy can help you the most:

Do you remember and understand more concepts and ideas by drawing or looking at pictures? Welcome, then, to the realm of visual learners. You most often draw diagrams around your notepad, pay attention to your teacher’s every stroke on the chalkboard, or relish the images and text projected from a powerpoint presentation.

Ace your lessons by complementing online and offline sources of pictures, diagrams or videos for your studies For sharper memorization, jot down keywords and post-its where you can usually see them. Don’t only write things down, sum them up with meaningful diagrams. Make lists, highlight and underline keywords, and create mind-maps for more complex ideas. In speeches or lectures, pay close attention to the speaker, and take pictures or film the session (if it is allowed).

Do you find listening and speaking in discussions appealing? Though everyone is most certainly an auditory learner like you in one way or another, you love reading to yourself out loud, look forward to listening to and giving oral reports, and find group studies instructive.

Focus on instructional methods like audiobooks, recorded tutorials and lectures or even musical interpretations and videos that let you hear your lessons repeatedly.

Do you always see to it that you get to try out and touch the material you’re studying? Kinesthetic learners are often excited by hands-on sessions, role-playing and participative demos. They get bored during long periods of sitting and see to it that they’re always on the move, relating the most to adventure books and highly inclined to sports. Kinesthetic learners learn best the more they experience the idea. Fill your study methods with lab exercises, tours and field trips, games, role-playing and group activities. For literary pieces, watch emotional dramatizations, or for scientific concepts, go ahead and be creative in your experiments.

Do you see patterns and like analyzing trends and connections? You’re a logical learner, so you get thrilled with working on puzzles, solving problems, and answering abstract “what-if” questions. You most often look for how relationships between concepts and reasoning are central to you. When studying, summarizing and analytical flowcharts and diagrams can help you the most by letting you classify information, categorize them, and plot out relationships.

Do you like being around people and find learning the most in conversations? If you find sharing personal experiences, seeking out or giving advice, and relating and exchanging information with groups or classes interesting, you’re a social learner and you’d find debates, open group discussions useful to you. If you’re the opposite who likes to study alone and figure problems out independently, you’re more of a solitary learner. Everyone should be a good balance of both to adjust flexibly to any learning demand.

When you know how to best handle information, you study more efficiently. Go ahead and make the lesson personal to you, because the more you find it relevant, the more you’d take it with you wherever you go—even long after the exam.

How To Plan Your Study Time Table

Planning To Pass

Managing your time while studying is probably the single most important of all studying techniques. It is the foundation on which all your studies are based and the key to studying effectively. When done correctly, time management and planning allows you to balance the many commitments you have while studying. This, in turn, enables you to stay motivated, focused and less stressed – your timetable essentially becomes your personalized guide on how to study effectively. The following are tips that were useful to me in high school and university to stay on top of things– give it a try and see if it works for you too.

There are many tools which can be used in successful time management – for example, diaries, year planners, calendar software, etc – however, the design of an effective study timetable is perhaps the most important when it comes to managing your time for revision and exam preparation.

The following tips are essential for planning a successful study timetable;

To start, draft your study timetable on a blank, 7-day week template that displays your full day from when you wake up until when you go to sleep. Each day should be further sub-sectioned into 15-minute sections.

First, schedule-in your daily routines which, even though are not directly relevant to your study plan, will be the routines around which you base the rest of your study timetable. Use as many details as possible, and even schedule seemingly mundane routines, for example, getting ready in the morning, lunch time, dinner time, other daily chores and what time you plan to wake up and go to sleep.

Second, lectures, exam times, and work hours should be scheduled next. These are usually not flexible and will start to give you an overall look at how much time you’ll have for revision, summarizing lessons and studies.

Third, leisure activities are also important but should be scheduled around lecture and work hours. These periods are generally more flexible in high-stress times and may even be dropped if required, although, this should not happen normally.

Now that you’ve filled the essentials of your day on your timetable, the blank areas left over will be times potentially available for study. These blank areas should be sectioned into study blocks. Try to manipulate your plan in order to have as many study blocks in your peak hours, ie, the times when you’re feeling most alert. Study blocks should be a maximum of 50 minutes long, followed by a break of about 10 minutes before another study session.

Use different coloured pens or markers to schedule different events, for example, blue for lectures, red for study blocks, black for leisure, etc. This makes it easy to plan your day at a glance.

Stick to the plan! Even in times when there are no exams or tests, utilize these periods for lower concentration intensity activities such as assignments, study preparation and study groups. Keeping the rhythm of your plan going will develop good study habits and better prepare your mental perseverance and motivation to study. Learn more about concentration techniques.

Set achievable goals for the amount of work you need to cover by breaking your study material into manageable sections. Monitor and evaluate your progress and amend your plan accordingly. You may need to reduce or cut out certain leisure activities before exams and tests or to catch up with assignments.

Never schedule time to study on the day prior to a test or exam. Outlined in revision techniques, this time should rather be scheduled for light revision lesson summarizing.

The most important thing when applying your study timetable is discipline. In being diligent in your timetable and developing good study habits, success in the academic arena can be guaranteed.

I hope the tips are helpful!

Effective Revision Techniques

Revising your way to success!

Revision techniques are a key component of studying techniques. Done correctly, it will ensure that what has been learned will be easily recalled from memory. However, used incorrectly, revision techniques can do more harm than good. The following tips will help ensure a thorough and correct revision program. I used these when studying for my IB exams and for every exam session I have had so far with Laurentian. Try them out and see if they work for you as well!

Always set aside time to revise based on a revision schedule. The schedule should be well planned and careful thought should be put into what needs to be achieved and how much time there is to achieve it. Realistic goals should be set.

Revision periods should be between 45 minutes to 2 hours on each subject. Personally, I like to sit down for a 2-hour block, this is the way I have found I am the most productive.

Read over your work making rough notes in order to stimulate more of your senses. Be creative with your note taking and try to use mind mapping and speech for important notes. You can find free mind mapping software online, or utilize old tutorials and exam questions to reinforce the information you have already absorbed.

Always take at least a 15- to 30-minute break in between sessions. This will allow you time to relax and gives your brain some time to prepare for the next study session. Go outside for a walk, make yourself some snacks, but make sure not to end up taking a 2-hour break by mistake!

Never try to cram one subject in on one day, it overloads your memory recall function and can jumble your thoughts when trying to recall facts.

Get organized for your revision sessions and learn how to concentrate on studying. Avoid petty distractions and commit yourself to long periods of focus in your scheduled routines. Make sure you have all the relevant material prepared in advance and also keep any snacks and water you may need nearby. Turn off your cell-phone and ask friends an relatives not to disturb you.

When using previous exams, test yourself under exam conditions by setting time limits and not using any other information resources. Check your answers against an exam model to see how you’ve done.

Staying healthy is part of how to study effectively. Take a long lunch break of up to an hour and try to get out for a walk or play some sport. This will give your brain an incredible boost when it comes time to get motivated to refocus. Also, ensure you are getting good sleep. Revision, when you are tired, is next to useless.

Music may help you to revise, however, avoid radio stations, especially talk radio and radio advertising which will distract you. Again, learn how to concentrate on studying. (Pro-tip: use Youtube videos of “Alpha waves” music, they help me to stay concentrated for hours on end!)

Avoid too much caffeine, sugar and other stimulants which give you a short-term boost, but reduce your ability to concentrate if consumed excessively.

So there you have it, a few tips on revision techniques. Be timely, thorough and organized in your revision and you’re on the path to successfully writing exams.

I hope my tips were helpful.

Good Luck!

How to Concentrate on Studying

Even with the best intentions, there is only so much we can retain while reading or studying. Although it may sound obvious to you, focusing on what you are doing can make a big difference in the quantity and quality of the information getting into your brain. This article will introduce you to a few concentration techniques I used which, in return, might help improve your study skills.

Concentration Techniques

When learning how to concentrate on studying, one must first pay attention to what impairs one’s ability to focus: distractions. Exams are stressful for most people. Having a clear mind helps to study effectively for exams. During study sessions, writing exams, or academic essays you may want to delay family or friends related issues to avoid distractions and emotionally charged scenarios. Kindly inform your surroundings about your up-coming exam session.

Then, make sure your desk and room are clean and organised by putting away any visual or auditory distractions. Here is a list of suggestions to help you concentrate on studying and write successful exams.

  • Keep distractions away from your study environment.
  • Prefer non-lyrical music (i.e. no speech). (Try this playlist I use whenever I study!)
  • Turn off TV, radio, digital devices, or any other sound producing device.
  • Turn off and put away digital devices.
  • Avoid having your computer nearby (e.g. with Facebook, Twitter, Email).
  • Close Facebook and any other social media, including your mobile phone (e.g. SMS).
  • Take short breaks (e.g. 5 to 15 minutes) every hour or so.
  • Avoid too much caffeine, energy drinks, or sweet drinks.

Sleeping Habits

Sleep plays an essential role in your ability to concentrate on studying. Usually, one needs 8 to 10 hours of continuous sleep every night. Sleeping helps your brain to organize the information and creates connections between new and old concepts. Although short naps can help regain mental alertness; they should never replace a good night of sleep. You might be on Instagram at 1 AM checking out your friends’ posts but think about the valuable minutes of sleep you are missing out on– believe me, you’ll regret it the next morning!

Visualization

Your mind holds great powers! Athletes using visualization techniques have experienced great results in their sports. Follow their example, close your eyes then visualize yourself walking in the exam room. Then, continue with sitting down, feeling calm, ready, and confident. In your mind, visualize yourself writing a successful exam then leaving the exam room feeling assured and satisfied. Visualization helps to get mentally prepared. It’s a good way to manage stress and a great concentration technique.

I hope these tricks are useful to you as well! Good Luck!

Excellent Study Habits

Have you ever sat down at your desk and tried to study endlessly, simply to realize that you are not registering any of the information you are reading? Indeed, it happens to the best of us. Keep reading for my tips on good study habits to overcome this problem! I have been using these for many years, they may perhaps also work for you.

Avoid Cramming

Avoid last minute cramming! Cramming is like throwing random things in an empty box to then look for them in a hurry. It doesn’t allow your brain to design internal mind maps. Creating connections between blocks of information requires time and organization. Using a free mind mapping software can help with doing so. Your brain doesn’t only link new concepts together; it also connects it with the knowledge you already possess. Among good study habits, one would be to find memories related to the new material.

To sum it up, cramming is not a productive studying technique. Actually, it might even be misleading you into feeling you understood the material. However, chances are the brain did not have enough time to form necessary connections to, for example, answer essay questions. Giving your brain a well-deserved break by spacing your study sessions over many days or even weeks is a better way to study effectively.

Study groups

Forming study groups is usually a good strategy to share the amount of work with other students. After finding good study partners, break down the material into sections, then assign one or more parts to every member. Every member then has to summarize an article or a section and prepare questions for members of the study group. Start early in the semester. Organizing regular meetings with your group is one of many good study habits. Then, as a way how to study effectively, maximize your meetings by reviewing and discussing the material orally with other members of the group. Summarize your sessions using mind mapping software and PowerPoint presentations.

Using Summary Sheets and Summary Cards

Improve your study skills using summary sheets or cards. To summarize an article or a module, use each subject in a section, main ideas, facts, or important details to structure your summary. Then, expand your summary by searching for and including other relevant sources of information such as YouTube, Wikipedia, Podcast, and so on.

Prompt your Brain

The brain is constantly looking for answers. One good way to improve study skills is to use this natural tendency to your advantage. Before or even while reading or studying, build a list of questions related to your material. Among good study habits, you may write question marks in the margin as you move forward through the material.

Use courses syllabus, outlines, or tables of content to find prompting questions. But, the brain also has its limits. Thus, a list of 5 to 7 questions at the time might be a good way to approach it.

Talk to your Teachers

One good way to improve study skills is to talk to your teachers about the material. Never underestimate the power of conversation. Actually, reviewing out-loud is also amongst good studying techniques. Speaking allows the brain to organize and produce an intelligible stream of thoughts. Thus, it’s also a good way to verify your level of understanding and readiness to write exams or academic essays. Use every opportunity to talk with your teachers: review classes, revisit tests, exams, or assignments making sure you understand every bit of information.

I hope the tricks I have listed above are useful to you. Good Luck!

How to Increase Memory Power

Unfortunately, we only retain so much through reading. In learning how to study effectively, increasing your ability to retain information is key to improving your grades. In this article, you will find memorization techniques, strategies for learning, concentration techniques, and mind mapping examples. In sum, studying calls for information integration rather than simply storing raw data in your brain. Although we still think of our brain as a hard drive connected to higher processes; it’s nothing like it. Continue reading to find out about the techniques that worked for me to increase my memory power.

1. Pay attention

To register and retain information, you need to pay attention to it. While your senses are capturing information 24h/7; your brain is trying to concentrate and organize specific elements of knowledge. To help this process, avoid all distractions, multitasking, and favour tidy environments. It’s now a good time to clean your room and your desk.

A good concentration technique would be to listen to non-lyrical music, use a ruler or your finger to point as you read through your textbook, and avoid social media as much as possible. You might want to turn them off during study periods.

2. Repetition – Rehearsing

The more natural of all memorization techniques has to do with repetition. Have you ever tried to remember a phone number? How did you do it? Most people will repeat it over-and-over until they remember it automatically. Some will memorize it by manually composing it over-and-over. Repetition is a natural learning strategy.

Moreover, spreading study sessions across your exam preparation increases your chances to go over the same material over-and-over. In addition, it gives your brain more time to connect bits and pieces of the material together. Find other ways to repeat the material by using your personal experience, images, sounds, movies, and so on. Then, copy your notes, paraphrase them, or have a discussion about them with your peers, teachers, or parents. In sum, rehearsing information, repeating it over-and-over is the easiest way how to increase memory power.

3. Organize it

The brain has a natural tendency to organize information. To help this process, use courses syllabus, outlines, keywords, or mind mapping to organize your material. To prepare for essay questions, design outlines to pre-organize your short or long essays. Here, you can find an example of an outline I would use for my academic essays. Verify this with your teachers before writing exams. The following is a mind mapping example.

4. Use mnemonic devices

Mnemonic devices are great memorization techniques. Because our brain prefers organized information to mismatched concepts, using mnemonic devices is a good way how to increase memory power. Simply assemble the first letter of each significant word in a given concept. Then, order the letters to form a meaningful sentence. Remembering a sentence is much easier than a whole concept.

Example: Great Lakes

The names of the Great Lakes are: Superior, Michigan, Erie, Ontario. You can remember the order from west to east with the following:

Super Man Helps Every One.

Using mnemonic devices is also a way how to study effectively when summarizing articles. Use this study technique after each paragraph or module to encompass its whole meaning in one single sentence.

5. Connect it

Mind mapping allows you to visually chart significant concepts. Taken a step further, each unit may be expanded by linking new knowledge to which you already know. Use other classes or personal experience to relate to new notions. Doing it visually through mind mapping will ease learning and reviewing before writing exams. Learn about free mind mapping software available online.

To conclude, stop storing and start integrating information as a way to study effectively.

I hope the tips are helpful! Good Luck!

How to Set Goals

Whether you are looking to improve your grades, maintain them, or simply want to learn how to study, knowing how to set goals is essential. Let me introduce you to the SMART method of setting your goals and shows you how to reach them.

This method was originally used by management professionals to set-up goals, monitor and evaluate success. SMART is an acronym for Specific goals, Measurable results, Attainable goals, Realistic goals, Time-bound. Let’s look at each specific terms and relate them to learning how to study:

S – Specific
When you plan for success, setting up attainable goals will give you a sense of direction. Knowing specifically what you want to achieve makes it easier to focus your mind and energy on the necessary steps to reach your goals. For example, instead of “I want to improve my grades.” you might say: “I want to increase my English average by 5% by the next term.” Yes, being specific demands to put numbers on the table.

M – Measurable
Putting numbers down also allows you to measure your progress. When planning for success, what are you really planning for? What would be – for you – the most obvious indicator of success? As you are learning how to study, you will also learn how to quantify your success. Although understanding more is a virtuous ideal; it’s also far from being observable! Setting measurable goals is done by setting up a range of improvement (e.g. 2-5%) or a specific target grade like 85%!

A – Attainable
Whether you are aiming for a target grade or simply want to improve your grades by an average of 2-5%, both numbers must feel attainable. Knowing that you are capable of reaching your goal is motivating. You might want to be honest with yourself about this one. Although we all want to achieve the highest grades; not all of us can score 95% in physics! First, look at your current grades, then set your goals in line with your real abilities.

R – Realistic
Even if you have the potential to score 95% in physics; those 3 weeks before exams might not do it. In other words, attainable goals still have to be realistic. Other factors such as time and commitments might come in the way of your goals. Setting-up goals, sometimes, demands to revisit your priorities to adjust them to your new plan.

T – Time-Bound
Just like school years have beginnings and ends, improving your grades is a process that starts and ends with your success. Break down your improvement in steps, like climbing up a ladder. Use school terms or semesters to evaluate how much your grades have increased. In other words, part of setting-up goals is to break them down into smaller – more attainable/realistic – ones you will achieve step-by-step. An increase of 2% per term per subject would be a great example of breaking down your improvement by term and then by subject.

In sum, we work better and achieve more when we plan for success. Knowing specifically what you want to achieve, making sure it’s attainable and realistic, knowing how to measure your success, and structuring your improvement over time are key factors of success. Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way!

Let me know if these tips were helpful, or if you would add anything!

Good luck!

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