Whether you are a K-12 student, college scholar, or professional engaging in learning new information, studying is part of the process. Material is presented, and, at some point, you will be assessed. 

Studying is a learned skill, and this skill translates across all subject matter. HOW you study can impact your success when it comes to the big test. Success is dependent upon several factors, including knowing your particular learning style. 

What are the 4 different learning styles?

In 1987, Theorist Neil Fleming developed the VARK theory of learning. This involved 4 primary modalities, including Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic learning styles. 

Visual learners: Visual learners learn best through visual aids such as pictures, diagrams, charts, and videos. They tend to process information by seeing it. Visual learners would benefit from PowerPoints, Prezi, and Video guides. 

Auditory learners: Auditory learners learn best through hearing and listening. They tend to process information by listening to lectures, discussions, and audio recordings. Subject matter podcasts are excellent resources for auditory learners. 

Reading/writing learners: Reading/writing learners learn best through reading and writing. They tend to process information by reading texts, taking notes, and writing summaries. This is the traditional learning style based on nearly 100 years of textbook teaching in American Education.

Kinesthetic learners: Kinesthetic learners learn best through physical activities and hands-on experiences. They tend to process information by doing things and engaging in physical activities. This modality can also be defined as experiential learning, meaning knowledge is solidified through an application or hands-on experience. 

What’s my learning style?

Everyone has a unique learning style and may not fit perfectly into one category. Many people may also have a combination of learning styles, and it’s important to identify your style and use it to your advantage when studying or learning new things.

To identify your unique learning style(s), Educationplanner.org has created a 20-question assessment designed for students, parents, and educators. 

What is the best studying method?

Once you’ve identified your learning style, you’re on the road to identifying the best method for consuming and retaining new information. The following includes 10 tips for maximizing your study time, regardless of your learning modality.

10 tips for effective study

1. Start with a plan: Before you start studying, make a plan. Your plan should not include cramming! Set specific goals and create a schedule for what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it. It’s best to schedule your learning a little at a time rather than long, drawn-out study sessions. Research has shown that shorter study sessions tend to be more effective than longer ones, especially when it comes to retaining information.

2. Stay organized: Keep your study materials organized and review them regularly to stay on top of your progress and goals. If new content is added to the test expectations, you’ll need to add that information, too. 

3. Remove distractions: Your head cannot be in the game if you are distracted. This includes phones, social media, and TV, which can eat up a lot of your study time. If your study materials are within apps on your phone, silence all notifications or set your phone to Do Not Disturb. 

4. Create a conducive study environment: Find a quiet and comfortable place to study. This could be a library, a coffee shop, or a dedicated study area in your home. If you know a messy room will interrupt your dedicated thought, clean it before sitting down with your books!  Set yourself up for success within your space. 

5. Take breaks: Employ the power of the brain break! Taking regular breaks can help you stay focused and avoid burnout. Moving your body can be so good for your brain. It’s recommended to take a short break every 45-50 minutes of studying. This could be taking the dog for a walk, turning over the laundry, or popping into the kitchen for a snack. Whatever it is, make sure it does not take away from the task at hand: learning. 

6. Use active learning techniques: Passive learning techniques, such as reading or watching videos, may not be as effective as active learning techniques, such as practicing problems or teaching concepts to someone else. If your learning style is kinesthetic, or your assessment will be based on application, you’ll want to study following those methods. 

7. Use memory techniques: Techniques such as repetition, summarization, visualization, and mnemonic devices can help you remember important information. When you were a kid, you may have used songs to remember important things, like Never Eat Shredded Wheat, to memorize the directions North, East, South, and West. Perhaps you knew to avoid certain snakes by reciting, “Red on yellow; kill a fellow, Red on black; venom lack.” The point is: these repetitions solidify understanding within our brains. 

8. Test yourself: Understand your baseline. Regularly testing yourself can help you identify areas where you need more practice and reinforce what you’ve already learned. There’s no point reiterating the information you already know.  Where do you need extra help? Once you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, revise your study plan to reflect that. 

9. Stay motivated: You got this! Find ways to stay motivated such as setting rewards for achieving your goals or studying with friends who can hold you accountable. Join online groups of people studying for the same assessments. There is positive power in communal experiences! 

10. Get enough rest: For goodness’ sake, rest. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, even on the days before a test, and take care of your physical and mental health. This can help you stay focused and productive during your study sessions.

Studying is a skill that is necessary for students, scholars, and professionals who wish to acquire new knowledge. However, HOW you study can have a significant impact on your success. Understanding your learning style can play a crucial role in maximizing the effectiveness of studying.

By implementing these tips and identifying your unique learning style, you can maximize your study time and increase your success when it comes to the big test.

If you’re ready to help your child chart a new course for success, give the Broach School a call at 904-637-0300, where they’ll master subjects that inspire confidence without the burden of homework. Together, we’ll enable your child to thrive academically.