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Learning styles

Most college students have a preferred learning style. Applying your learning style to complex study material will make understanding easier.

Learning how to learn is a lifetime skill. Understanding your learning style may lower your frustration level, especially around exam time. Follow this link to take a Learning Style Evaluation, find your preferred learning style and apply appropriate new strategies when studying or attending class.

While the above link will offer you specific and nuanced information about your particular learning style, the following list offers some helpful learning strategies as well. Keep in mind that most people don't fit neatly into one category. Be willing to try a variety of strategies as you discover what works best for you.

Strategies for visual learners

  1. Watch non-verbal clues (instructor body language, gestures, physical deportment) signifying important information during a lecture.
  2. Pay special attention to repeated information and underlined or starred material on the board.
  3. Be aware when the instructor changes the volume of his or her voice.
  4. Make lists, charts, matrixes, maps, outlines and webs of information as study aids.
  5. Draw or sketch to add visual images to main ideas.
  6. Use color-markers to highlight information.
  7. Write everything down: write, copy, rewrite.
  8. Color coordinate study materials: Green for Geography, Blue for Business, Purple for Psychology.
  9. Integrate tactile and visual learning techniques by taking notes and writing down as much information as possible.

Strategies for auditory learners

  1. Study out loud in a place where privacy will be ensured.
  2. Read text out loud, especially complex material.
  3. Repeat directions for assignments and tests out loud or by silently mouthing the words.
  4. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Rephrase instructions and ask if your understanding is correct.
  5. Rephrase information in your own words.
  6. Use a tape recorder to tape a lecture, or read your notes out loud for later review.
  7. Integrate auditory and visual learning styles by making mind pictures as you recite.
  8. Join a study group or find a study buddy and work out loud with them.
  9. Teach a concept to someone else.

Strategies for tactile or kinesthetic learners

  1. Use your hands: Gesture often to emphasize points to remember when studying.
  2. Watch instructor for emphasis: take note when the instructor points, underlines, sweeps arm, makes a punching movement with hand, nods head vigorously, or stars important information.
  3. Make flashcards: Play a game with vocabulary cards. Put the word on one card and the definition on another. Turn all the cards face down, picking a single card and one-by-one turning the other cards over to find a match.
  4. Type notes and lectures into word processor or rewrite notes.
  5. Walk while studying: combine exercise and review.


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