They often say that the most important thing one should learn in school is how to learn. College needs a good learning method. But there are several learning methods.

Do you know which is your best learning style?

Some students are good visual learners. If this is your case, then try to replace words with symbols and initials. When you read, use different colors to underline important text, use symbols, charts, arrangements on page. Try to memorize pictures of pages for your exams. Also, for your exam try to make drawings and diagrams where appropriate; practice turning visuals back to words.

If you are an aural learner (you learn better by listening to someone talking) then practice attending lectures and tutorials, discuss topics with your friends, explain what you learn to other students. Use a tape recorder to record lectures or to record yourself explaining new ideas you just learned. Try to explain visual representations of knowledge to people who don’t see them. It is often the case that you do not take good notes because you prefer to listen. Then, when you are doing your homework, try first to expand your notes (so leave space for later recall). Put summarized notes on tape and listen to them. Read summarized notes out loud. Explain your notes to someone else. To practice for your exams, speak your answers and practice writing answers to old exam questions. (Actually this is good practice for everybody.)

Another method of learning is by both reading and writing. If this is the case, then use lists, write down headings and definitions. Use handouts (if you have them) and textbooks.
Read your lecture notes and try to expand them, or re-write them. Write out words again and again. Reread notes silently. Rewrite ideas into other words. Write statements explaining diagrams. When you learn for your exam practice with multiple-choice questions. Write out labs (if appropriate), write paragraphs, beginnings and endings. Re-read silently and re-write your notes.

If you are a kinesthetic learner then you learn well while doing a physical activity. You probably do well in a lab, when you have to do things with your own hands. You are a hands-on learner. Use all your senses to learn. Listen to real-life examples. Take a hands-on approach. Probably you take notes poorly, but you can put examples in your notes. Use pictures and photos to illustrate your notes. Talk about notes with another kinesthetic student. When you prepare your exam write practice answers and role-play the exam situation in your room.

Perhaps there are many persons who cannot identify themselves with a unique learning style. Combine several learning methods and see what works best for you. You can even take a test to determine your best learning style(s). It is good to take the test, but, in my opinion, it is important to try to determine your best learning style(s) before you take the test. As the ancient used to say:

Nosce te ipsum.

(Meaning: know thyself.)

Filed under: College needs

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